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A Visual Catching Up on the Latest Goings-On
Oct 23, 2017 3:24 PM
Time for my quarterly {ahem} update on all of the construction projects you are picking your way past when you walk/drive/bike around the Hood:
I'll start with the new openings and the coming soons, with both Due South Dockside and Morini Piccolo now operating (softly) on the Yards Park boardwalk, and Cava in the Homewood Suites at Half and M in Any Second Now territory:
As for buildings getting their faces on, I present Skanska's 99 M office building and the new DC Water headquarters:
There's also now two new arrivals above ground, as PN Hoffman's condo project The Bower has at last made its debut at 4th and Tingey, as has the DC Housing Authority's as-yet unnamed mixed-income rental building at 2nd and L, both of which are shot from the south instead of the intersection because it's now the time of year when anything shot to the south-southeast, south or south-southwest will look terrible, no matter what time of day:
Next on the assembly line, two more residential projects projects are likely to be making their above-ground debuts before the end of the year: JBG's West Half project directly north of Nats Park, and the McDonalds-slaying 2 I Street project:
Other holes in the ground I won't highlight this time around include the Bower's sibling rental project at 4th and Water, Toll Brother's Parc Riverside Phase II at Half and L, the Jair Lynch residential project at the Half Street Hole, and the combo project at South Capitol and M for the new National Association of Broadcasters headquarters and its next-door residential project labeled 10 Van.
Also, WC Smith has cleared the lot at 2nd and I to make way for the beginning of work on the Garrett, the third and final apartment building that makes up "The Collective" on that block. Plus, fences are up along 3rd Street for the next project in the Yards lineup, the 270-unit apartment building currently known as "Parcel L2." (Great, I have to update my Highlighted Projects map again.)
Just to make sure all ends of the construction spectrum are represented, one hole is even starting to get covered over, and that's in the 200 and 300 blocks of Virginia Avenue, where the Virginia Avenue Tunnel work is far enough along that you can actually start to imagine a street appearing again in those blocks in the coming months:
Finally, I'll close with a shot of a tearing down rather than a building up, and that's the pile of debris formerly known as 37 L Street SE--just in time to mark the 40th anniversary of the Cinema Follies fire, on Oct. 24, 1977.
So, while the neighborhood is taking a back seat these days to all of the excitement surrounding the opening of the Wharf down the road, there is still a fair amount happening. (And hopefully the neighborhood blogger will someday get back in the groove. Still riding the rollercoaster of my new not-yet-ready-to-call-it-normal.)

Friday Tidbits: 1st and K Sliver, Yards Park Kiosks, 49 L for Sale
Jul 28, 2017 10:39 AM
Some brief items while I continue to be more or less on sabbatical:
* 1ST AND K SLIVER? Urban Turf reports that the owner of garage on the northeast corner of 1st and K has finally sold his lot, and a developer is planning a 12-story 34-unit residential building. Urban Turf has a rendering, but I prefer looking back to December 2004, right after the garage building was rehabbed and opened as A1 Tires. JPI attempted to buy the site back when planning 909 New Jersey, but the owner was, shall we say, not interested. (The expletives still ring in my ear from when I asked him about it a decade ago.)
* YARDS PARK KIOSKS: With the return finally of the approved building permits feed, I was able to report in the comments a few days ago that the construction visible in the kiosks along the boardwalk at the Yards Park were for ventures from the owners of Lumber Shed tenants Due South and Osteria Morini (along with what I believe is office space for the marina). I posted last year about the possibility of "Due South Dockside," but Eater has now reported that the Morini kiosk is not going to be the long-ago announced pizza joint Nicoletta, but a "summer sister spot" for Morini that could open late this summer. "Details about the offshoot are limited, but expect a bar serving draft beer and wine, as well as a pared-down menu of what’s available at the flagship restaurant. That includes made-to-order salads, the New York-transplant’s iconic meatballs, and simple desserts," Eater says.
* FED WAREHOUSE: Another twist in the long-running saga of the warehouse at 49 L Street: There is now a sign up announcing that the site is up for sale, and a commenter found the GSA listing.There was talk a few years back of this building being traded to the city, but that apparently is not coming to pass. (Nor apparently did the city choose it as the site of a homeless shelter.) And once upon a time a group of residents wanted it to become the Half Street Market.
* ROSE PT: The BID Newsletter reports that Rose Physical Therapy Group is now open in the ground floor of 1015 Half Street.
* ROOFING: The first "roof cap" on the rebuilt original Virginia Avenue Tunnel was pored last week, in the 200 block of Virginia Avenue. It seems odd to say these words, but the project is expected to be completed next year. (Time flies.)
* YOU'RE AN ALL STAR: The preparations and publicity for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game at Nats Park are now underway, with the unveiling of the logo and also information on how one might actually procure tickets.

District Winery Popping Up, Parcel O Digging Down
Oct 17, 2016 8:55 AM
At 4th and Water Streets, SE, the steel has started popping up for District Winery, the winery/restaurant/events space coming in late 2017 to the Yards.
The official web site is online, along with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, though right now the site's links are mainly for how to reserve the events space for your wedding or how to work for the winery.
Here's a few more images, along with recognition that I need to get my act together and create a project page, though in the meantime you can read my previous posts for more info.
Just to the winery's northeast, digging is well underway at Parcel O, where a joint project is underway that will beget a 138-unit condo building by PN Hoffman and a 190-unit rental building by Forest City. There are hints that the condo building will be called The Bower, though PN Hoffman's web site hasn't quite gotten there yet. Completion is expected in 2018.

Yards Marina Grand Opening on Sunday, June 26
Jun 21, 2016 8:38 AM
The spiffy new Yards Marina, now ready for business, is having its grand opening celebration from 2 to 5 pm this Sunday, June 26.
There will be a slew of activities, including tours of the new space, short boat trips on the Anacostia, live music, games (yes, including corn hole), face painting, circus performers, children's crafts, "Mermaid Story Time," and much more. It is free and open to the public.
The marina has 50 boat slips, a water taxi dock (though no announcement yet as to any new services), and a paddler dock for kayaks and smaller personal boats. Half of the slips are for "long-term, seasonal use" while the others are for stays of 10 days or less. If you want more information on slips (including free "parking" for the grand opening), contact Living Classrooms at 202-488-0627.
Comments (13)
More posts: Events, marina, The Yards, Yards Park

Due South Working on Plans for 'Dockside' on Yards Park Boardwalk
May 27, 2016 11:10 AM
In the wake of what is clearly a very successful venture at the Lumber Shed, there are apparently now early-stage plans for "Due South Dockside," to be housed in two of the "bays" along the Anacostia Riverwalk near the pedestrian bridge in Yards Park.
Due South owner Bo Blair tells me that there will be a "streamlined menu of Due South's best items," along with frozen drinks, beers, and wines and a kids menu (presumably not including beers and wines).
An April 2017 opening date is being targeted. But I will note that there is apparently not yet a completed agreement with Forest City, as an inquiry to them about the plans was greeted with the standard statement about the company not commenting on any potential deals until a lease is signed.
The early plans were presented to ANC 6D's ABC committee earlier this week, and my understanding is that the committee voted to support a liquor license for the project.
Comments (30)
More posts: dockside, duesouth, Restaurants/Nightlife, Yards Park

Friday Night Concert Series Gets Modelo and Corona, Loses BYOB
May 9, 2016 10:01 AM
Last week the Capitol Riverfront BID announced the lineup of its 6th annual Friday Night Concert Series at the Yards Park, starting on May 20 and running through September 2.
In addition to passing along the news that this year the concerts will be located on the "great lawn" on the west side of the park rather than the past location along the boardwalk (which might be tied to the expected construction later this year of the new District Winery building), there was this tidbit:
"This year, Modelo and Corona will be the exclusive beer and wine vendor, featuring beverages for every taste. A variety of food vendors will be onsite in The Yards tailgate area, or attendees can pack a picnic from the 32+ neighboring restaurants. In order to maintain the beauty of Yards Park, reduce its environmental footprint, and provide a clean and safe environment for all to enjoy, no outside alcoholic beverages may be brought into the premises, and security officers reserve the right to inspect all items brought into Yards Park, including coolers."
As one might imagine, this isn't going over well with some longtime attendees, and there's already a Change.org petition with more than 1,100 signatures asking the BID to reverse the decision, with a lot of very pointed comments from signees about the choice of a non-local sponsor, the impact on the family-friendly atmosphere of the events, and more.
UPDATE: Here is a letter from the BID in response to the displeasure about this move. As one observer posited in this comment thread, the crowd size was indeed one of the concerns, with attendance now "routinely" topping 3,000 attendees, causing problems with the park's insurance and cleanup, as well as raising concerns about safety. As for not going with a local beverage offering for the concert sponsorship this year, the BID says that Bluejacket declined an opportunity similar to their role as a 2014 concert sponsor--and that the sponsorships "directly support ongoing maintenance, repairs, or programming in the park."
Comments (15)
More posts: Events, Yards Park

Zoning Commission Gives Approval to District Winery Design
Feb 23, 2016 1:48 PM
On Feb. 18 the Zoning Commission unanimously approved the submitted plans for a new-construction building at the Yards on the southwest corner of 4th and Water Streets, SE, that is to be home to District Winery, DC's first-ever winery (at least, as far as the owners can tell).
Brian Leventhal, one of the owners of both Brooklyn Winery and the coming DC venture, told the commission that this will be a full commercial winery, processing fresh grapes brought in from various US locations (including Virginia).
And since "you can't have wine without food," there will also be a 90-seat interior restaurant open seven days a week, which will also have outdoor seating.
In addition, the 2nd floor will be an events space, which the winery hopes will become a "very coveted wedding space," as well as a location for corporate and political events. There will also be tours of the winery, and bottles will be available for purchase (with "Bottled in the District of Columbia" on the labels).
Leventhal also showed some slides of Brooklyn Winery's operations to the commission, which you can see here.
Forest City's Jonathan Gertman testified that the company is targeting June 1 for the start of construction, and Leventhal said that they are hoping to be open by September of 2017. A liquor license is already in hand.
I posted a few weeks ago the early designs for the building, which will be a sibling of sorts for the Lumber Shed (and eventually there will be a third retail pavilion nestled between the two). The image at the top of this post is a slightly more realized version, though note that the red dots and lines aren't actually part of the design (I grabbed it from the zoning filings). The entrances will be on the wall facing west toward the Lumber Shed, and the restaurant will be on the south end of the building, where outdoor seating will look toward the Anacostia River.
Other than concerns about whether a winery would be a permitted use or an associated use under the zoning overlay, and some small frustrations about not being exactly sure what the differences were between the original approvals back in 2009 and the new case, all the zoning commissioners were enthusiastic about the project and the design. Michael Turnbull said that "I think this is going to be such a cute little building, and I think it'll be a fun place to go," while Robert Miller called it a "very exciting project, a very attractive building, a unique activating use in this Yards area," and that he looks forward to sampling it.
The commissioners felt no need to request additional information or changes, and with the Office of Planning recommending approval, and with ANC 6D's unanimous vote in support earlier this month, the commission took final action and approved the case 5-0-0.

Light Yards: Light-Themed Art Installation Through March 6
Feb 21, 2016 4:12 PM
I escaped town for this past week, so apologies on being late on this, but if you've wandered by the Yards Park this weekend and saw either a bunch of scaffolding or a big show, it's Light Yards, which through March 6 will be "melding light, sculpture, and music to create wonder!"
The large "Point Cloud" and its sibling "Cube" seen in the image provided by the organizers were designed by New York-based light artist and architect John Ensor Parker, and will be joined starting on Feb. 27 by "giant luminescent rabbits," with a special family-friendly event from 3 to 6 pm that Saturday, "to delight in the sight of the enormous glowing bunnies, while enjoying children’s activities, including a giant Lite-Brite."
Also on Feb. 27, from 6 to 10 pm, there will be another light show set to music, performed by electric violinist DC Manifesto.
It's free and open to the public.
Comments (3)
More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Impressionistic First Peek at District Winery's Yards Park Building
Feb 1, 2016 5:02 PM
Recent zoning filings are giving interested observers (i.e., me, and most likely you) a watercolor'ed early rendering of the new Yards Park "pavilion" expected to be home to District Winery, a "boutique" winery/restaurant/event space on the southwest corner of 4th and Water Streets, SE.
As described in the filings, the winery "will produce premium small batch wines served on the premises and occasionally sold in bottles for patrons to consume elsewhere. Guests will be able to tour the winery, taste wines at the wine bar, have dinner at the restaurant and reserve the second floor venue for a private event, such as a wedding receptions, corporate event or private function." It will have a capacity of 750 persons, with 450 seats.
The filing goes on to say that the winery, the "first of its kind" in DC, is expected to open in the fall of 2017.
The drawing above is the view as seen from the Yards Park, on the southwest side of the building (so, as if you are walking east from Osteria Morini). Here are slightly less impressionistic but still early drawings of the elevations from all four sides (click to enlarge):
There will eventually be a third pavilion positioned between the winery and the Lumber Shed--the filing says that Forest City is "working on securing a retail tenant(s)" and that it will "most likely be a restaurant."
The zoning hearing for the winery is scheduled for February 18. This plan was supported by ANC 6D in a 7-0-0 vote on Jan. 11, "contingent upon the execution of a mutually agreed construction management plan."
Comments (22)
More posts: Restaurants/Nightlife, winery, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Construction on Yards Marina Set to Start, Opening Spring 2016
Oct 6, 2015 10:44 AM
The long-planned Yards marina, spanning much of the waterfront of The Yards from the pedestrian bridge east to the border with the Washington Navy Yard, is moving forward, Forest City is announcing today.
On-site work is set to begin within the next few weeks, with completion expected in spring 2016. (Fabrication of some of the marina's components has apparently been underway off-site for a few months now.)
There will be approximately 50 slips, half of which will be "designated for short-term transient use" (i.e., less than 10 days), and the other half will be for long-term use on a seasonal contract basis. As for sizes, Forest City says that most slips will be able to handle boats up to 60 feet long, but that "there will also be limited dockage for boats up to 125 feet in length." Slips will have electrical outlets and water supply hookups.
And the marina won't be just for boat owners: there will also be a water taxi dock, a "paddler dock" for kayakers and other "human-powered watercraft," and an "education dock for use with river-focused experiential instruction." The walkways and dock surfaces will be floating concrete structures.
The marina was designed by Moffatt & Nichol and is being built by Bellingham Marine.
Comments (2)
More posts: boats, marina, The Yards, Yards Park

Now Official: District Winery Coming to New Pavilion at Yards Park
Sep 21, 2015 9:34 AM
Rumored a few months ago after a liquor license application appeared in the pipeline, it's officially being announced today by Forest City Washington that the owners of Brooklyn Winery will be opening DC's first "urban winery" in a new 16,000-square-foot pavilion on the southwest corner of 4th and Water Streets SE in the Yards Park.
It will be named District Winery, and is to "feature the most popular components" of the Brooklyn version--it will be a full-service restaurant, and will also have a wine tasting area, a private events space with an open-air terrace, and, "of course, an impressive collection of wines, crafted and aged onsite." The Brooklyn operation is also apparently a quite popular venue for weddings.
The new pavilion's design will apparently be quite a wood-and-glass look that will echo the nearby Lumber Shed and the Yards Park itself. When I wrote about the rumors back in May, I included some 2009-era imaginings of what the pavilion could look like from when the Yards Park was going through its approvals process, but my understanding is that the design has evolved considerably, with District Winery's input. (No new renderings are being made available just yet, however.)
Forest City says it expects to start construction in the spring of 2016 and that the winery would open in the fall of 2017.
Comments (19)
More posts: districtwinery, Restaurants/Nightlife, Yards Park

Upcoming Biking, Music, Opera, Fitness, and Imbibing Activities
May 14, 2015 10:12 AM
It's a fairly sizeable lineup of events on the neighborhood calendar over the next few days:
* BIKE TO WORK DAY: The forecast looks swell for DC's annual Bike to Work Day, on Friday, May 15. Canal Park is one of the pit stops, from 7 to 9 am, at which there will be refreshments and food, plus you'll have a chance to win prizes if you have registered. (Looks like the free t-shirts are all already claimed, though.) Read about commuter convoys, ride buddies and more at the official web site.
* FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERTS: The Friday night Summer Concert Series at Yards Park kicks off this week, with the R&B stylings of Jimi Smooth. The concerts begin each week at 6:30 pm, and the Grassy Knoll fills up pretty quickly, so arrive early!
* OPERA IN THE OUTFIELD: Saturday is Cinderella Day at Nats Park, thanks to the the return of the annual Opera in the Outfield simulcast. Gates open at 5 pm, with a slew of pre-performance activities and entertainment, including a Royal Parade that will allow "kids of all ages" to arrive in costume and march around the lower concourse. The actual simulcast begins at 7 pm, and it's all Rain or Shine, and all free and open to the public. Note that sitting in the outfield now requires a wristband handed out on a first-come first-serve basis. More details here.
* GLUG GLUG GLUG: This most assuredly is not free, but Canal Park on Saturday will host "ABV," an afternoon of "outdoor imbibing" of the "finest craft beverages," put together by Greg Engert and friends. It will run from 3 to 8 pm, rain or shine, and tickets are $20 at the door or in special advance packages. The full list of beer, wine, and spirits to be available is here.
* FITNESS IN THE FRONT: Technically not a weekend event, but you may need to toss in a workout session or two after a big weekend--and just your luck, the lineup of outside summer fitness classes gets underway on Monday, May 19. Brought to you by VIDA Fitness and DC BFIT and located in Yards and Canal Parks, the classes range from Yoga to Zumba to "high energy" to Boot Camps to a once-a-month family fitness session. The schedule is here, and classes are free and open to the public.
* MARGARITA WARS: In case you didn't get your fill of drinking in a neighborhood park at ABV, City Paper's third annual Margarita Wars is slated for May 21 at 6:30 pm at the Yards Park. "You be the judge as the region's top mixologists compete for your vote in a winner take all battle for 'rita supremacy." Tickets are $25 and include unlimited margarita tastings. Also included: one of those extra-special tequila-fueled hangovers. (But you'll want to recover by May 30, when the Tour de Fat extravaganza returns to Yards Park.)
Comments (1)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, Canal Park, Events, Yards Park

Winery Looking to Come to Water Street - Time for New Building(s)?
May 2, 2015 1:42 PM
A Friday afternoon post over at City Paper's Young and Hungry site broke the news of a liquor license application for a "multipurpose facility" by the name of District Winery, saying that it would have "450 seats (with a total capacity for 750) plus dancing, a 100-seat summer garden, and a wine pub."
And that it would be at 385 Water St., SE.
Which is pretty cool news, except that right now there is no building with an address of 385 Water St., SE.
There were theories that it would be the first hint of retail leasing in the under-construction Arris, which is indeed in the 300 block of Water, but is on the north side of the street and so would have to be an even-numbered address.
The Lumber Shed is 301 Water--if all of the retail spaces in that building weren't spoken for, the notion of just a fat-fingering of the address could have been assumed.
But, 385 Water... Hmmm....
Many of you may not have been around back in 2009 when Forest City received approvals for its plans for Phase 2 of the Yards Park. This included approving the remaking of the Lumber Shed as a glass-enclosed retail pavilion--and also included the plans for two additional retail pavilions on what is now open lawn space between the Shed and 4th Street SE.
The drawings you see here are from 2009 and have actually been on my Yards Park and Lumber Shed pages since then--they show various views of all three pavilions, including a view from a deck on the easternmost pavilion looking toward the west with the Shed and other pavilion visible. (Click to embiggen.)
The larger, eastern pavilion, dubbed P2B (because this is Parcel P) would have a footprint of about 10,300 square feet, while the smaller middle one's footprint would be about 6,300 square feet. Each of them would be less than 40 feet high and would have "open roof terraces on the second story for outdoor dining." And, as the drawings show, they would have much the same glass-and-concrete look as the Lumber Shed does.
And it could certainly be possible that the larger eastern one could have an address of 385 Water Street. And it looks sizeable enough for a venture looking for 450 seats with capacity for 750, plus dancing.
Forest City, as always, makes no comment on tenant-related information when there is no signed lease. And so it's also interesting that District Winery (which City Paper says appears to be from the same folks behind the Brooklyn Winery in New York) has made the move to apply for a liquor license before any lease has been signed.
We Shall See on all of this, including what any potential timeline might be for the construction of one or both of these new pavilions, but at least it means there would appear to be some definite leasing interest for these spaces. Either that or I am terribly off base with all this pondering.
UPDATE: All that pondering, and I could have just read that yes, it is indeed a new building being planned."Plans are still in the early stages, putting an opening at least two years away[.]" (h/t @JES)

Ice Yards, A Party with a 'Ski Chalet Vibe', on Jan. 17
Jan 13, 2015 11:26 AM
Cold enough for ya?
Looking to do something to pass the time while it's cold?
Want to be even colder?
Want to have fun while being cold?
Want to do stuff to warm up while being cold?
If you're 21 or older and answered "Why, yes!" to any of the above questions, head down to the Yards Park on Saturday, Jan. 17 for Ice Yards, billed as the "ice version" of the big Splash Yards party last summer.
With a "ski chalet vibe," the shindig will run from 2 to 6 pm and is slated to have ice bars, a "frosty beer garden," a DJ, live music, a "ski lounge," fire pits, hot tubs, "Absolut Snow Cones" (SOLD!), and interactive winter-themed video games.
The forecast for Saturday currently calls for a bit of a warm-up, to around 45 degrees, but if that temperature was cold enough to hold the NHL Winter Classic, I'm sure it'll be fine for a party.
It's free, but give them an RSVP at EventBrite or on Facebook if you think you're going (1,800 of your closest friends have already clicked "Yes").
Comments (10)
More posts: Events, The Yards, Yards Park

Yards Park to Host 'Nationals Celebration' for Games 1 and 2
Sep 30, 2014 4:26 PM
The Capitol Riverfront BID is announcing plans to host a "Washington Nationals Celebration" in Yards Park for the Nats' first two playoff games, on Friday Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 4. These events will feature "favorite local bands, broadcasting from CBS Radio, and family-friendly activities to celebrate the Washington Nationals' home stand during the first round of the National League Division Series postseason playoffs."
On Friday, the festivities will be held post-game, where a not-yet-named local band will play on the boardwalk while food trucks and the nearby restaurants will offer eats for your picnicking pleasure. (The start time for Friday's game will not be known until after Wednesday's NL Wild Card game, but it is expected to be either 12:07 pm or 3:07 pm.)
On Saturday, the Natitude will start in Yards Park at 3 pm, "with a pre-game concert by fan favorite Hand Painted Swinger, family-friendly activities such as face painting, and broadcasting from CBS Radio personalities with Nationals-focused commentary and interviews." (And don't forget to walk the Riverwalk to the 1st Base Gate!)
All this is free and open to the public.
UPDATE: Since this just arrived in my inbox, I'll add that the Fairgrounds is offering "viewing parties" for all home playoff games on their 16x16 oudoor big screen, with full audio.
Comments (0)
More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, Events, Yards Park

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.

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)

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."
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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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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.
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How to Have a Less-Than-Optimal Yards Park Experience
Aug 24, 2012 10:10 AM
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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.

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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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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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.

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.

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.

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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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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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.)
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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!

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.)

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.

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 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.

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

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.

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.

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!)

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.

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?)

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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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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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."

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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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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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.)

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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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!)

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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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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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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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

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

Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Turns 10, Celebrates with a Series of Riverside Events Next Week
Sep 3, 2010 11:57 AM
The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, the wide-ranging approach via city and federal investments to revitalize the Anacostia River and its environs, is celebrating its 10th birthday, with a series of events next week tied to the riverfront. Some of them you're already aware of, like the dedication ceremony at the Yards Park on Sept. 7 followed by the "grand opening weekend" of events Sept. 10-12. But there's also some other happenings, including an "Anacostia Conservation Service Event" at Diamond Teague Park at 9 am on Sept. 8, a "transportation open house and tour" at the 11th Street Bridges project office on Sept. 9 from 10 am to 2 pm, along with other events at Kingman Island, Marvin Gaye Park, and the Southwest Waterfront.
[And, should my feelings be hurt that the postcard advertising the celebration that came to our house was addressed to my husband and not me? What, I haven't demonstrated enough interest in the river? :-) ]
UPDATE: Just received a flyer about the Sept. 9 Transportation Day--it will start with a kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, then the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of AWI transportation projects. Parking is limited at the open house site (over at 13th and M, SE), so they'll be running Circulator buses to there from the New Jersey Avenue Navy Yard Metro station entrance.

Sneak Peek of the Almost-Open Yards Park
Aug 27, 2010 12:23 PM
What a gorgeous morning. A morning perfect for taking photos. Perfect for taking photos along the Anacostia riverfront. At a park that's less than two weeks from opening. And so here's a gallery of Yards Park photos, with construction work still very much in evidence but with the site looking in pretty good shape. At more than 5.5 acres, there's a lot of park to photograph, so I left a lot of good shots on the cutting room floor, but hopefully this gallery will give you a good idea of what you'll see when the park has its Grand Opening Weekend Sept. 10-12.
One other piece of news to pass along--I was told today that it's expected that work will begin on the Boilermaker Shops rehab by the end of this year. As with the Foundry Lofts (which is getting restarted now), work on that much-anticipated retail space will take a year or so. (If you need a Yards primer, see my project page.)
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More posts: Boilermaker Shops/Yards, The Yards, Yards Park

Tiny Followups For Yesterday's ANC/Yards Park Posts
Aug 19, 2010 12:10 PM
Guess I should have been lazy (er, lazier than usual) and waited 24 hours on each of my posts yesterday, because there's small tidbits to add on both:
* While the Yards Park "official opening weekend" is set for Sept. 10-12, invitations have now begun landing in mailboxes for a ribbon cutting/dedication ceremony on Sept. 7.
* There is now at least one challenger to ANC 6D07 incumbent Bob Siegel--according to the DCBOEE, Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte has filed his paperwork to run. And I'm hearing rumors of at least one more resident planning to jump into the race as well.
In other non-followup news, eagle-eyed readers might notice in my DC permit feeds an approved public space/excavation permit for its planned 1111 New Jersey office building site. But don't read too much into it--there's still no announced plans to start construction anytime soon.
UPDATE: Oh, and a PS: The Top Chef DC episode filmed at Nats Park back in the spring is coming up next week (Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 10 pm, on Bravo). It appears to be a stadium-food challenge, with the "chestestants cheftestants" cooking and serving in the various food bays along the concourse.

More Info on Yards Park Opening Weekend Festivities
Aug 18, 2010 2:35 PM
The Capitol Riverfront BID is gearing up for its job as maintainer, programmer, and promoter of the soon-to-open Yards Park by sending out this flyer with details on the festivities planned for the park's opening weekend, planned for Sept. 10-12.
Live music, food tasting, and a "beer garden" will be available all three days, along with special activities such as an art show by the Art Whino gallery, fitness classes, a Trapeze School demonstration, contests at the dog run, and a fireworks show on Saturday (in addition to being a new spot to watch the Nationals' postgame fireworks on Friday).
The events, which are free and open to the public, run from 3:30 to 11 pm on Friday, Sept. 10, 9 am to 10 pm on the 11th, and 10 am to 1 pm on the 12th.
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More posts: Capitol Riverfront BID, The Yards, Yards Park

Summer Doldrums Bullet List (Light Tower, Traffic, Hula Hoops, Signage, BID Survey, DC Blogs)
Aug 13, 2010 12:37 PM
Hasn't been much swirling around lately worthy of a full blog post, but here are a couple items so that people don't think I've shut down (though most of them have already been seen on my Twitter feed, aka the "I'm Too Lazy to Blog" feed):
* The light tower at the Yards Park is being installed today, about four weeks in advance of the scheduled grand opening on Sept. 10. I hope to have pictures at some point.
* Greater Greater Washington reports that MPD fanned out around Nationals Park on Wednesday night, ticketing drivers and pedestrians and handing out flyers on safety. GGW also brings up the public meeting held by Tommy Wells back in March about the notion of reworking M Street under the "Complete Streets" principles of creating road networks that work for pedestrians young and old, cyclists, public transportation users, and drivers. by doing things such as adding dedicated bike lanes, creating safer crosswalks, etc. At that meeting, residents of Southwest were unimpressed with the possibilities, but the few Southeast residents in attendance seemed more open to it.
UPDATE: TBD reports that the truck driver in last week's incident is not being cited.
* The Post did a video feature on Hoopernatural, the hula hooping fitness outfit. They are running classes for mixed-levels of hoopiness during August at Canal Park, on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11 am.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is running a survey to get feedback from residents, workers, and visitors on the types of events the BID holds (concerts, outdoor movies, farmers' market, etc.). Let your feelings be known here.
* While my griping about the bad signage on the SW Freeway (highlighted again by the Post on Thursday) is technically out-of-boundaries, it is on topic to also mention to DDOT that the various blue "services" signs for the South Capitol Street exits on I-395 probably need to get rid of the gas station icons, since the days of having three gas stations right on South Capitol and two within a few blocks to the east are long gone. (But @DDOTDC has put me in a time out after Thursday's flurry of transit-related tweets, which also included this good suggestion from a reader about the need for a left-turn signal on northbound Third Street, SE at Virginia Avenue, for people needing to get onto I-395 southbound.)
* And I stumbled across this study by the New America Foundation about "online-only" news outlets in DC. It counted 61 of them, noting that the "city's oldest local blogs that still command an audience began to spring up in 2003," with JDLand being one of the "original few," thanks to my January 2003 vintage. The piece looks at DCist, GGW, Prince of Petworth, And Now Anacostia, and TBD (though it hadn't yet launched), along with a few nice words about this site. But I have been thinking a lot lately about how I'm an old lady compared to the rest of the DC neighborhood blogosphere, and this article (coming on the heels of my [redacted] birthday) certainly reminded me of it. :-)

Yards Park Grand Opening Set for Sept. 10-12
Jul 29, 2010 5:14 PM
From the BID's latest newsletter: "Mark your calendars for the Yards Park Grand Opening weekend on Friday, Sept. 10 - Sunday, Sept. 12th! Join us to kick off the opening of the 5.5 acre world-class riverfront park, where celebrations will include live music, a variety of food and drinks, fitness classes, children's activities, and much more!" More details to come, they say.
You can see the photos I took of the park's progress back in late May, along with more details on the park's design--hopefully I'll get to take some more before too long.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

New Photos. Lots of Them. (1015 Half, 11th Street Bridges, Yards Park, Etc.)
May 31, 2010 4:56 PM
There have been a lot of photos I've been needing to take recently, and the stars finally aligned today for me to go get them. (I sure could use some Gatorade about now, though.) Here's a run-through:
I made my first visit to the 11th Street Bridges site, and now that all 63 river piles have been driven, it's kind of an interesting tableau. You can see my new photos, as well as background on the project if you need some orientation on what exactly you're seeing. I also got some "final" before-and-after photos of the view at 12th and M now that the RFK ramps are mostly gone.
I also wandered over to 1015 Half Street, now that I've been convinced that they're truly working on the building again. The main project page has an overview, but if you can't get enough before-and-afters, the Expanded 1015 Photo Archive shows even more angles (though you Nation fans might find them bittersweet).
I know I just unleased a big pile of Yards Park photos a few days ago, but the big hole in the lineup has been a lack of shots from across the Anacostia River, at Poplar Point. So I got over there today, and while they aren't as exciting as you might imagine (though you can see that they're doing some priming or test painting on the pedestrian bridge), I've still added some to my Yards Park page, denoted with the icon. I also finally got my official "after" photos from Poplar Point for Diamond Teague Piers, which you can see on the project page and also here. And, for the fun of it, you can also "watch" the stadium go up from that spot.
If you want to see all the "intersection" shots I took today (all 131 of them!), they're here, on three pages, and you can then click on the icon to see the historical images. (I had a lot of spots that needed updating. Yeesh!)
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Yards Park Construction Progress Photos
May 25, 2010 7:34 PM
It was a beautiful afternoon for a walk along the Anacostia River, and I was lucky enough to take my stroll within the boundaries of the forthcoming Park at the Yards. The 5.8-acre park is scheduled for a "late summer" opening, and it's definitely taking shape, as you can see in my new Park Construction Photo Gallery. (And thanks also to Mother Nature for the fab backdrop; compare the shots from my visit in March to see why I tend to avoid cloudy days if at all possible.) The park, for those not keeping up, is being built by Forest City as part of The Yards, but is being funded by the city through PILOT monies and then will be turned over to the Capitol Riverfront BID for maintenance and "programming" once it's completed. It's that public money that has allowed the park's construction to go forward during a time when private funding is pretty hard to come by.
The biggest news is that the 60-foot light tower on the water's edge at the foot of Third Street, which was originally not going to be installed until the park's second phase, is now going to arrive (by barge!) in July and be in place when the park is unveiled.
And, while the no-longer-salmon-tin-sided Lumber Storage Shed will be merely an open skeleton when the park opens, it sounds like maybe the possibilities of tenants are close enough that the Shed could be transformed into its glass-skinned retail pavilion new self sooner than might have been anticipated during the park's design phase.
(There also seems to be similar optimism about both the nearby Foundry Lofts and Boilermaker Shops projects getting on track. Forest City continues to work with HUD to get the financing squared away for the Lofts, and the Boilermaker Shops could get underway before the end of the year.)
Also in evidence in the Photo Gallery is the (ZOMG!!) dog park. which will be a fenced-in area on the far western edge of the park along the boundary with the 1905 WASA building.
So, wander through and read the captions for greater detail, and compare the photos to the park rendering at the top of the page to orient yourself and to understand what different sections will look like when completed.

A Few Links of Note, Since It's Pretty Quiet
May 24, 2010 7:36 PM
I'm happy with my move to Twitter for much of my "little" linking, but here are a few (somewhat) recent items that still deserve the "hail of bullets" treatment on the blog, especially during a bit of a lull. (But I might have something somewhat cool tomorrow, if the weather holds.)
* From City Paper's Housing Complex blog, a report on some reimagining of the Anacostia Waterfront by middleschoolers as part of the National Building Museum's CityVision program. The Navy Yard, Poplar Point, and Florida Rock were given the treatment, with an underwater library envisioned at the latter, among other notions.
* Urban Turf asked a group of soothsayers to look ahead five years on which "unsung" DC neighborhoods would be attracting homebuyers five years from now. The "Southeast Waterfront" was one of the 'hoods (as once again people make clear that no name yet floated for the area is truly capturing the populace's fancy, which is why I stick with the REAL name ;-) ), and while it will take a while to be "fully realized," the writer reminds readers that Near Southeast has some pretty solid "bones": With "proximity to Capitol Hill, access to Metro and major roads, Nationals Park, a potential streetcar line, a waterfront park that I think will be one of the best in the city and of course the river[,] this neighborhood starts to make a lot of sense as a place to live."
* SWill reports from just across the way about the plans for hip, happenin' shindigs once again this summer at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. "The parties [...] have been named Liquid Lounge and will feature some of the best house music DJs from Washington, DC and beyond. The hotel and Nocturnal Vibe will host their inaugural event on Saturday, June 5th from 2 p.m. - 9 p.m., poolside at the architecturally iconic DC destination."
* With the DC season of Top Chef now having an announced premier date of June 16, it's been confirmed (by DCist) that Nationals Park was the site of one of the challenges (apparently on May 6, according to this tweet). I'm going to LOL if they make guest judge Eric Ripert chow down on nachos, half smokes, two-pound pretzels, or other ballpark haute cuisine.
* And, the subject of filming at Nationals Park reminded me to go see what the latest is on the Reese Witherspoon/Jack Nicholson/Paul Rudd/Owen Wilson/James L. Brooks movie filmed at the park a year ago. It's called How Do You Know, and IMDB says it has a release date of December 17. (Prime Oscar season!)
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More posts: Florida Rock, Navy Yard, Nationals Park, The Yards, Yards Park

Circulator Running for Exhibition; More Ballpark Items
Mar 31, 2010 9:32 AM
* The folks at the BID have passed along the news that the Circulator will be running its Union Station/Navy Yard route on Saturday (April 3) for the 4:05 pm Nats/Red Sox exhibition, even though it wasn't originally listed on their 2010 Baseball Extended Service schedule (it is now).
* Metro has just released its information on getting to and from the ballpark: "Expect standing room only to/from Nationals games."
* WTOP writes about the two new economy lots for stadium parking; you might want to check my Stadium Parking map for a graphic that's a little clearer, and that also shows non-official cash lots. One item in the piece that I'm checking on, though--it says that piers at the Yards Park and will allow private boats to be docked there starting in July. But everything I've seen up to now has said that the piers and marina are to be built in the park's third phase, which isn't expected to come online until after 2012. Am waiting for a response from Forest City for clarity.
UPDATE: Forest City confirms that the piers are not coming this summer, contrary to what the article reports; they are planned for later phases.
* WAMU had two short pieces on Near Southeast on Monday: "Ballpark Hits Old Reputation Out of Field," and "Population Near Nationals Park Doubles in One Year," which now seems to have disappeared from their web site.
* Be prepared for another slew of stadium-related news stories later today, with the annual ballpark media day on the agenda. And the weather's nice for once!
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More posts: circulator, parking, Nationals Park, The Yards, Yards Park

Waterfront Park at the Yards to Have a Dog Park
Mar 29, 2010 11:04 AM
Here's a Monday morning item that I imagine will be of interest (judging from recent comment threads). On a tip from reader C, I can pass along that the Park at the Yards, scheduled to open this summer, will have a dog park on its western edge, near the WASA building. I don't have an iota of details beyond that (hope to within a week or so), and it doesn't appear on the renderings of the park (it would be at the far left of the images, next to the "Great Lawn"), but Forest City has confirmed that it will be there.
In other Yards news, following up on the item in Saturday's Post about the Foundry Lofts, Forest City has qualified that they are *hoping* to restart the project in April, but it's contingent on when they close on funding with HUD.
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More posts: Dog Parks, The Yards, Yards Park

Checking in on the Park at the Yards
Mar 1, 2010 12:00 PM
I was able to make a quick visit today to the site that is in the process of becoming the 5.5-acre Park at the Yards, on the banks of the Anacostia River between the Navy Yard and Nationals Park. It's scheduled to open this summer, and it's starting to take shape, from the pedestrian bridge (above) to the Overlook to the "Canal Basin."
I've now posted bunch of photos, with curses to Mother Nature for mostly hiding the sun until about two minutes after I left. I will be adding some of them to my Yards Park project page, but the Quick Gallery was a good spot to get large versions posted, um, quickly. But do check out the project page to help orient yourself to what's coming, both in this first phase and in the later phases over the next few years:
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

Trapeze School Opening Friday; Some Photos
Feb 25, 2010 5:06 PM
Despite the snows of February putting a bit of a crimp in their schedule, the Trapeze School New York's Washington outpost has gotten all of its permits and is holding its first classes on Friday in its new home on Fourth Street south of Tingey in The Yards. They were nice enough to invite me down for a sneek peek, so here's a few shots from inside their tent (which I will always think of as Ice Station Zebra) as they finish up preparations. Once spring finally, um, springs, they'll be running classes outside as well, on the open lot next to the tent.
There's also one bonus photo, which shows a nice bit of movement at the Yards Park--the terra cotta corrigated tin skin on the old Lumber Shed is being removed, for what eventually will be glass walls on a retail pavilion:
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More posts: The Yards, Yards/Parcel O, Yards Park

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

New Photos Posted (Hat Tip: Mr. Blue Sky)
Sep 20, 2009 6:24 PM
Even at my laziest, it's hard to not pull out my camera on a day like today and head to the Hood. But without a lot of projects going on, I had the chance to also wander by some locations I've not paid as much attention to as I should. Here's the highlights:
I stopped by 11th and 12th streets to get caught up on the RFK ramp demolition that's part of the 11th Street Bridges project. The ramps across M have been down for a while now, making M Street along this stretch seem slightly less claustrophobic. The remaining concrete pillars (like the one at left, and the stubs on the south side of M) make for some interesting sculptures.

Capitol Quarter continues to progress on its third block (between K, I, Fifth, and Fourth), with some houses now bricked and framing coming soon to the north side of the block, making St. Paul's church not look quite so lonely anymore. Plus, the first foundations are being poured on the fourth and final block of phase 1, along Virginia Avenue between Third and Fourth.
I even ventured down to the fences at the Park at the Yards to see what I could see, and on the west side of the footprint I could glimpse some of the work being done on the Canal Basin water feature at the foot of Third Street as well as some clearing of the area that will be the Great Lawn. Here's the latest photos, or check the Yards Park page to see some of them matched with the renderings of what the spots will look like.

This isn't the most earth-shattering shot of the day, but I did feel it necessary to finally get a shot of 900 M Street now that Domino's is open.

Last but not least, I wandered around Virginia Avenue Park, finally getting my set of "baseline" photos along Ninth Street (only six years later than I should have). I also took some photos of the park itself but I'm going to take a little more time and not do a rush-job on the park photos; the one above, of the community garden, will have to tide you over a little longer.
As always, on any of these pages, click on the icon to see a complete set of before-and-afters of the location you're viewing. (And boy, am I loving being able to post larger thumbnails of photos here in the blog entries, thanks to the redesign of the home page. But don't forget to click through to see the non-thumbnailed versions.)

Yards Requests Zoning Change for Trapeze School
Jul 10, 2009 2:44 PM
On Monday (July 13) the Zoning Commission will be hearing a request from Forest City for a text amendment to the Southeast Federal Center Overlay that would "authorize a Trapeze School and Aerial Performing Arts Center in the SEFC/R-5-E Zone District at the Yards." This is the Trapeze School New York, which left Baltimore's Inner Harbor earlier this year and is currently flying through the air on the old DC Convention Center site at Ninth and H, NW. The school would take up residence on the lot on the southeast corner of Fourth and Tingey ("Parcel O"), which someday will be a residential building but is not expected to be developed anytime soon. It's also just north of the site of the Park at the Yards, which is scheduled to open next year.
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More posts: meetings, The Yards, Yards/Parcel O, Yards Park, zoning

Updates on Yards Park Funding Hearing and Third Street Gas Smell/Underpass Parking Restrictions
Jun 25, 2009 11:24 AM
A few follow-ups from a recent entry:
* The Committee on Finance and Revenue held its hearing on Tuesday morning on B18-0299, the "Waterfront Park at the Yards Funding Act of 2009," which will create a fund to maintain and "program" the park from a special assessment on development at the Yards, plus sales tax revenues at the park's retail venues for five years, and proceeds from any "naming rights." The hearing wasn't exactly a barnburner--there were three three-minute statements by Jamison Weinbaum of the Office of the Deputy Mayor, Alex Nyhan of Forest City, and Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID--Nyhan described the funding set-up as "taxing ourselves extra," and also mentioned that an $2 million for getting the park started has been secured from the USDOT PILOT funding.
Jack Evans really only had one question: how much will it cost the city? Weinbaum explained that the sales taxes from the retail pavilions that would normally go into the city's general fund will for five years go into this new maintenance fund, but since there is no income from the park's property now, there will be no net loss to the city, and then will be a gain after five years. Evans said that he likes this model of having the private sector taking care of the park (even though the park will be city-owned when it's completed).
If you want to see the testimonies and questions, watch the streaming video (you can skip ahead to the 1:09:00 mark, since it was a long hearing).
* The Twitter box at the top of my home page was out of commission on Tuesday, so those of you who don't suscribe to my Tweets either directly or on Facebook missed out on the flurry of updates about the natural gas smell at Third and Virginia. Reader MB (who had already called Washington Gas four times) talked to a cop who was parked at the intersection Tuesday morning, who called in the smell, and before long fire trucks had arrived, followed by Washington Gas. The southern part of the intersection was closed until nearly 9:30 that night, with two pretty deep holes dug and all sorts of work done. MB reports this morning that the smell appears to be gone (I didn't notice it when driving through this morning, unlike on Monday).
* Speaking of that stretch of Third Street, the new No Parking during rush hour signs have now been posted on both sides of Third Street beneath the SE Freeway. If you drive north out of Near Southeast during afternoon rush, let me know if traffic appears to be flowing better.
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More posts: US Dept. of Transportation HQ, The Yards, Yards Park

Hearing Tuesday on Yards Park Maintenance Bill; Various Tidbits from Third Street
Jun 22, 2009 2:55 PM
* Tuesday morning at 10 am the council's Committee on Finance and Revenue is conducting hearings on a bunch of bills, including B18-0299, the "Waterfront Park at the Yards Act of 2009," which would "authorize the Mayor to enter into an agreement to provide for the operation and maintenance of a public park on the Anacostia River Waterfront; to establish a Waterfront Park Maintenance Fund into which certain designated revenues, including certain sales tax revenue, shall be deposited; and to impose a special assessment on properties specially benefited by the park." I'm kind of bleary today, and so haven't yet the proposed act terribly closely, but I can report that one of the potential revenue streams mentioned in the bill is the "naming rights" for the park. (Alas, I don't think I have enough change under the sofa cushions to bid on this.) The hearing is at 10 am in room 412 (and should be on DC Cable 13 and live webcast, though tomorrow's schedule isn't posted yet).
* The latest on Cornercopia--reader DT (who is *gunning* for my free sandwich offer) reports speaking today with the man who will be running with the deli, who said that they are awaiting permits, and hope to open in July. Maybe even July 1.
* Reader MB reports having smelled natural gas a number of times recently in the intersection of Third and Virginia, right before you head north under the SE Freeway underpass. I just drove through there a little while ago and smelled it quite strongly inside my car, even with the windows rolled up. She says she's called Washington Gas a number of times, and it seems to get fixed temporarily, but then returns. She left a message with the mayor's office today. So, if you hear a big BOOM, you'll know what happened, and the Powers That Be can't say they weren't warned.
* Reader CA reported last week having seen a big gathering of people outside the Post plant at 225 Virginia--I saw them myself at around 1 pm today, and it appeared to maybe be a group of young folk involved in the DC summer jobs program, but I don't know for sure. I can say they didn't look like a swarm of developers desperate to sublease the property.
* Lastly, a nearby resident has heard from DDOT and Tommy Wells's office that, within the next couple weeks, the two lanes of parking on Third Street underneath the freeway will be marked as No Parking during rush hours. This should allow for a de-facto creation of left turn and thru lanes for the northbound lanes at the light on the north side of the freeway, perhaps allowing thru traffic to get through the light more quickly and to shorten the backup southward down Third.

Council Looking at Redirecting Capper/Yards PILOT Funds to Convention Center Hotel
Jun 16, 2009 8:56 PM
From the Washington Business Journal: "The D.C. Council may consider withdrawing millions of dollars in subsidies from stalled city real estate projects to publicly finance a convention center hotel. D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi met with members of the D.C. Council on Monday and discussed the list of projects with $704 million in subsidies that have already been passed and could be diverted to the hotel. The list includes the Southwest waterfront, the Arthur Capper / Carrollsburg residential development on the Capitol Riverfront, the mixed-use O Street Market in Shaw and seven other economic development incentives."
The list names both the PILOT fundings for Capper ($55 million) and the Yards ($30 million), though I'm not sure exactly how that would work, given that some of that money is already going to the construction currently underway at Capitol Quarter, the Park at the Yards, and Diamond Teague Park. (Though the $30 million cited for the Yards/DOT PILOT is a lot less than the total $112 million sum received from that PILOT; the Capper $55 million, though, is the full amount of that PILOT.) There's a hearing now scheduled for June 24.
If you want more background on what exactly the PILOT funds are and how they work, here's some old entries of mine to browse.
UPDATE: In the "What Does This Mean for Capper?" department: The funding is in place to finish Phase I of the Capitol Quarter townhomes now under construction (unless the council is *really* grabby), but the Housing Authority has been having a hard time looking for funding for CQ's second phase as well as the four mixed-income apartment buildings slated to be built around Canal Park. So I'm *guessing* that the money the council is wanting to grab would further delay that work? But I'm not sure, because I don't know exactly how much of the PILOT's $55 million is already spent or being spent just on CQ's first phase.
The two parks, as well as some other projects along the Anacostia Waterfront, are tied to what my archives say was a $112 million PILOT from the construction of the US Department of Transportaton HQ. I just confirmed earlier today that Diamond Teague is still on schedule for a mid-July opening, and given all the flourishes (such as the groundbreaking) of the public/private partnership for the Park at the Yards I would think they wouldn't grab that money away. (I was wrong in an early version of this post to say that Canal Park was part of the DOT PILOT; it was originally, but not in the final version, apparently.) The DOT PILOT is also supposed to fund Marvin Gaye Park and Kingman Island; and DMPED said at the time that "Funds could also be used to finance parks and infrastructure at Poplar Point, the Southwest Waterfront, the Southwest Waterfront Fish Market, along South Capitol Street and a pedestrian bridge connecting the Parkside neighborhood to the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail Station."
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More posts: Canal Park, Capper, Teague Park, The Yards, Yards Park

Groundbreaking for the Park at the Yards
May 28, 2009 12:47 PM
I'll let the gaggle of "real" media that was on hand today cover what was said (check back later today for links), but I can at least provide some photos from today's groundbreaking on the $42 million five-acre Park at the Yards, the first phase of which is scheduled to open in the middle of next year. Mayor Fenty, councilmembers Tommy Wells and Kwame Brown, DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and Forest City Washington president Deborah Ratner Salzberg did the honors of turning the dirt (the mayor and Eleanor took at shot with some heavier equipment, too, as you'll see in the photos). And, just for history's sake (and because it all looks kind of familiar), here's photos from the October 2007 groundbreaking for the Yards itself.
The park is being funded by the proceeds from the USDOT payment-in-lieu-of-taxes bonds, and the park will be dedicated to the city when it is completed. The Capitol Riverfront BID will be in charge of maintaining the park--in fact, my photo gallery from last year's announcement of the public-private partnership has some good renderings of the park, though for all the scoop and images on the park's three phases (and what the area looks like now), go to my Yards Park page.
UPDATE: First out of the gate is WBJ, using Fenty's "a world class city needs a world-class waterfront" quote that I was totally going to post myself, except I didn't bring a pad and paper and so didn't get it written down. (Also, the park isn't "five blocks east" of Nationals Park--more like two, from First to Third, and even that's being a bit over-cautious, since the western edge of the park will be a new extension of Second Street, just to the east of the WASA main pumping station.)
UPDATE II: Here's Fox5's report, which doesn't quite get that the groundbreaking was for the park and not all of the Yards, where work has already been underway. And their ID'ing of "Deborah Ratner Salisbury" doesn't help, either. NBC4's piece is more accurate. ABC7 appears to have run a report, but it's not on their web site (yet).
UPDATE III: WAMU's story, and the mayor's press release.
UPDATE IV: A new night-time overhead rendering:
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

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

Yards News (Park Groundbreaking, Liens Statement)
May 7, 2009 9:47 AM
The folks at Forest City Washington have sent along the news that a groundbreaking ceremony for the Park at the Yards is scheduled for May 28 at 10:30 am. (The park is being funded by PILOT bonds created a while back, and so financing in this no-financing era is already taken care of.) Construction will begin in "a few weeks," and the park's first phase is expected to be completed in mid-2010. Work on rehabbing the Lumber Storage Shed and building two other new retail pavilions will come in Phase 2; see my Yards Park page for more details.
Also, in response to the WBJ story that mentioned construction liens at both the Yards and Onyx, Forest City passed along this statement:
"In response to the article published in the Washington Business Journal in the May 1-7, 2009 issue entitled "Contractors have filed nearly $28M in liens in D.C., Northern Virginia," in which Forest City Washington (FCW) was cited in regard to work done at its Yards project near the baseball stadium by one contractor, FCW wishes to clarify and update this issue:
* FCW was neither served nor notified of this lien until we read about it in the Washington Business Journal;
* The plumbing contractor involved in this action has been paid in full for the work it has invoiced on this job. FCW has signed lien releases from the contractor covering its services billed;
* The lien has been released.
It is unfortunate that the Washington Business Journal chose not to contact anyone at Forest City Washington in order to obtain the most updated information available in regard to this matter before publishing its story."
(Also, I deserve a ding-ing of my own for my recent references to Building 160 as the Pattern Shop Lofts, when I know darn well that the name was changed to the Foundry Lofts a while back.)
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More posts: Foundry Lofts/Yards, The Yards, Yards Park

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

Capitol Power Plant Going Green?; Yards Park Phase 2 Zoning Hearing Monday; Lawsuit to Stop 11th Street Bridges
Mar 1, 2009 9:56 AM
* (h/t reader F) The AP takes a look at the Capitol Power Plant just north of the SE Freeway, the neighborhood's second most "favorite" landmark (after the school buses) with its smokestacks obscuring the view of the Capitol dome from many locations. On Thursday, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the Architect of the Capitol asking that the power plant switch from burning coal to using natural gas for its operations, saying "The switch to natural gas will allow the CPP to dramatically reduce carbon and criteria pollutant emissions, eliminating more than 95 percent of sulfur oxides and at least 50 percent of carbon monoxide...We strongly encourage you to move forward aggressively with us on a comprehensive set of policies for the entire Capitol complex and the entire Legislative Branch to quickly reduce emissions and petroleum consumption through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean alternative fuels." The AP's story tells how Congress has been trying to clean up the plant and make it more "green," and the potholes in the road to making it run completely on natural gas. I'm guessing it wouldn't be wise to start counting the minutes until the smokestacks are gone.
* On Monday at 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission is scheduled to have its hearing on the Phase 2 plans for the park at The Yards, though we'll see if the weather wreaks havoc with the schedule. Here's my notes on the presentation of the designs to ANC 6D, and my Yards Park page has renderings.
* (UPDATE) Missed this--the Examiner reported on Friday that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society has filed suit to stop construction of the new 11th Street Bridges, citing its "significant, irreversible, adverse effects" on the surrounding area. The CHRS web site has a bit more detail as well.
* Tickets still available for Elton and Billy. Apparently there was a bit of a glitch yesterday when they went on sale.

ANC Supports Yards Park Phase 2; Tidbits on 11th Street Bridges; Nothing Else
Feb 11, 2009 1:29 PM
* With thanks to SWill for passing the word (since I couldn't attend the meeting), I can report that ANC 6D on Monday night voted to support the plans for phase 2 of the Yards Park, which will be going in front of the Zoning Commission on March 2. (You can read my summary of last week's presentation to the ANC on the plans for more information.)
* If you're looking for analysis of what exactly the plans for the new 11th Street Bridges configuration might mean, Greater Greater Washington is taking a look at them (part one here; part two not yet posted). For what might perhaps be called an opposing viewpoint, DDOT's chief engineer Kathleen Penney contributed this article in the February Hill Rag about what DDOT sees as the benefits of the project. And, if you want some 11th Street Bridges material to use as a sleeping aid, I pass along this link (via Tommy Wells's blog) to the RFP for the design/build contract. (The "amendment" link is the *slightly* more comprehensible one.) There was a hearing last week on a bill about the contracting procedures for the bridge, but I'm not *so* desperate for content to wade into that.
(UPDATE) I already posted about this, but it's a good time to mention again that there's a public forum on the 11th Street Bridges on Feb. 17: "Sustainable Development, Infrastructure, and the Future of the District of Columbia," at the MLK Library at 6:30 pm. (DDOT just sent around its own announcement, now posted online.)
* And hey, check it out, the council has finally updated the user interface for its legislation database!
* Other than that, all is very quiet these days. Though those following my Twittering were apprised yesterday of this breaking news item: "[I] Dreamt last night that 3rd and K Market was reopening both as a bodega and a swank Indian food joint. With a new noodle place next door."

Lazy Weekend Tidbits: Capitol Quarter, ANC 6D
Feb 8, 2009 11:10 AM
Been kind of a nice few days here without much news, so now I'm having to force myself back into the routine. I'll start small:
* An update to the post about the new houses released at Capitol Quarter: EYA tells me that the houses released are spread throughout the development: 421 L Street, under construction and expected to be ready in April (listed for $720,340 on the EYA "Move In Now" list), two houses in the block just to the north (expected to be ready in the fall), and four houses in the block bounded by I/Virginia, Fifth, Fourth, and K that could be ready by the end of the year. On all of these blocks the reservations placed by homeowners over the past few years have now been converted to contracts; that is expected to happen for the final Phase 1 block (between Third and Fourth and Virginia and I) later this year.
* The agenda for Monday night's ANC 6D meeting is posted, and it includes a vote on the Phase 2 designs of the Yards Park that were discussed at last week's special meeting. I've also now added a bunch of those Phase 2 renderings to my Yards Park page. Other items on the ANC 6D agenda are about Southwest subjects, though I should note that the National Marathon on March 21 (which they'll be discussing) will be coming across the Douglass Bridge, briefly using South Capitol Street until it turns west on P Street.
There's also an agenda item about a BZA application for 1101 South Capitol St., SW, which was the old KFC. This is a good opportunity for me to mention that, with two blogs about Southwest now in full flight, I'm going back to my original boundaries, which old-timers will remember stopped in the median of South Capitol Street, which is where Southeast ends and Southwest begins. I'm lucky enough to be watching a neighborhood that has probably the firmest boundaries of any in the city, so I'm going to respect them!
* City budget season is nearly upon us. I've added to my calendar a partial list of dates for FY08-09 oversight and FY10 budget hearings, for agencies that have the most bearing on Near Southeast. Check the DC Council web site for the full list.

First Look at Phase 2 of the Yards Park
Feb 2, 2009 11:00 PM
Tonight ANC 6D had a special "presentation" meeting, to lighten the load of next Monday's business meeting so that everyone could go home before 2 am. On the agenda were three items, all of which are JDLand perennials. I'll post on Tuesday about the Capper zoning stuff and the South Capitol Street EIS, which didn't really contain much that I haven't previously covered; the third item was the designs for the second phase of the waterfront park at the Yards.
The first phase, which is expected to begin construction in the next three months and be completed by mid-2010, is the basic layout of the park and the boardwalks. The second phase comprises 55,000 square feet of retail in the to-be-rehabbed Lumber Storage Shed and two new buildings, as well as a 60-foot-tall "visual marker" (seen at left) just to the southwest of the shed. (The third phase will be the piers and marina.) I was dreading coming home to describe these latest plans with no renderings to accompany my ramblings, but then I found the National Capital Planning Commission has done all my work for me, thanks to these phase 2 designs being in front of the commission at their meeting this Thursday (and for which the NCPC staff has recommended approval). You can see all of the drawings presented to the ANC in this NCPC document, along with a lot of description of the designs, but I'll hit some highlights.
The "light tower," designed by James Carpenter Design Associates, is made up of stainless steel prisms that reflect light during the day and will be subtly illuminated at night. The top is actually 70 feet from the top of the water, but 10 feet of that is the boardwalk; the structure itself is only 60 feet high.
The storage shed, as I've mentioned in the past, will lose its faaaahbulous salmon-colored corregated skin and will be enclosed with non-reflective glass. The other two buildings (currently given the wonderfully descriptive monikers of P2A and P2B) will also be mainly glass structures. There will be a restaurant court in front of the center building, overlooking the area of the park that steps down toward the waterfront. (A drawing of the three buildings' southern facades is here; a larger version of the rendering at right showing how the buildings are not at all dominant when viewed from the waterfront is here. See the NCPC document for additional views.)
The questions from the ANC commissioners included whether this public park financed by public dollars and owned by the city would be open to the public, whether there would be preferences for ANC 6D-based businesses for the retail spaces and the six kiosks planned near the light tower, and if there would be any city-controlled vending spaces in the park.
The designs will be presented to the Zoning Commission on March 2 (there are also some exceptions and/or variances being requested). The ANC will presumably be voting on whether or not to support the project at its Feb. 9 meeting.
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More posts: ANC News, Lumber Shed/Yards, meetings, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Special ANC 6D Presentation Meeting on Feb. 2
Jan 27, 2009 7:45 PM
With developers of three large projects needing to make presentations, ANC 6D has decided to have a separate presentation meeting on Feb. 2 in advance of its Feb. 9 monthly business meeting. And all three are Near Southeast spectaculars:
* The Housing Authority will be there to talk about the various modifications it's seeking to the Capper PUD, in advance of its March 19 Zoning Commission hearing;
* DDOT will be making a presentation on the final South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement (this includes the plans for the new Douglass Bridge), which I wrote about a few weeks back; and
* Forest City will be making a presentation about the park at the Yards (I believe these are the designs for Phase II, which include the various pavilions and the docks and marinas). The National Capital Planning Commission will be taking a look at Yards designs at their Feb. 5 meeting, and the Zoning Commission hearing on the park's second phase is scheduled for March 2.
The meeting is at the ANC 6D offices on the second floor of 1501 Half Street, SW, at 7 pm.

Roundup: NatsFest, Wendy's, Yards Park, Teague Park, Lower Barracks Row
Jan 22, 2009 1:53 PM
Pulling together some reminders and other recent Twittered tidbits:
* This Sunday is NatsFest at the ballpark, from 1 pm to 5 pm. It's being held indoors in the various club areas, so if you've never gotten to see some of the lounges, or the conference center, or the clubhouse, this might be a good opportunity. Season-ticket holders get four free tickets; for the rest of the world it's $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
* Last week a raze permit was issued for the defunct Wendy's on I Street. No word on when demolition will actually occur. This is where JPI is planning its fourth Capitol Yards apartment building, 23 I Street, but there's been no recent intelligence on when they might decide to get underway.
* Construction hasn't yet begun on the Park at the Yards, but some additional information and more detailed renderings should be coming to light over the next month. Forest City is scheduled to make presentations to the National Capital Planning Commission on Feb. 5, and the Commission on Fine Arts on Feb. 16, and possibly ANC 6D on Feb. 9.
* A reader is reporting this morning that a derrick crane is going up at Diamond Teague Park--perhaps that's to begin work on the water taxi piers. (Though note that there was already a crane of some sort there back in December when I took these photos.)
* Apparently the various property owners surrounding the section of Eighth Street south of the freeway have gotten together along with the Capitol Riverfront BID to start working on plans to perk up the area, using the Connect Barracks Row report by University of Maryland Urban Studies and Planning students as a jumping-off point. Look for public meetings in February-ish.

New Streets Arriving at The Yards
Dec 10, 2008 11:07 PM
Work is continuing on the infrastructure at The Yards, and there's now a lot of new pavement recently laid down. Fourth and Tingey is starting to look like a real four-cornered intersection, with Fourth now extended southward one block to the new Water Street that will be the northern boundary of the Park at the Yards. The paving of what will be a new section of Third Street south of Tingey (next to the Foundry Lofts) was completed last month (though it's hard to see in the photos I last took in November--the hassles I get from the USDOT security people lessen my enthusiasm for trudging to Third and Tingey very often). Plus, Tingey itself now has all of its lanes reopened as well. It's all still a construction zone, but it looks like traffic is now (or will be soon) routed into the surface parking lots at Third and Fourth via the new streets.
In many of these photos you can also see the progress on the two new floors on top of the Foundry Lofts building. It's scheduled to open in mid-2010.
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More posts: Foundry Lofts/Yards, The Yards, Yards Park

Mayor Talks About Progress Along the Anacostia; Status Updates on Parks, Bridges, and the River
Nov 14, 2008 2:56 PM
This morning Mayor Fenty held a press conference at Nationals Park with various city officials to highlight tomorrow's Anacostia Waterfront Information Fair, and also talk up the recent progress and near-term next steps for the more than $8 billion worth of economic development, transportation, and infrastructure projects in the pipeline along the Anacostia River (not only in Near Southeast, but from the Southwest Waterfront all the way up past RFK).
Having sworn off taking any more photos of The Mayor at the Microphone (unless he shows up in a Hawaiian shirt and swimtrunks or something), I decided to record the 20-minute event instead, so that the five or six of you interested in hearing the remarks can do so. (It's a 2.6-mb MP3 file; the first few seconds are rough, but then it settles in.)
If you listen, you'll hear how the mayor managed to cajole the notoriously camera-shy Stan Kasten into saying a few words about what's happening along the river and in the neighborhood from the point of view of the area's largest tenant. Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, DDOT Director Frank Seales, Office of Planning head Harriet Tregoning, and the director of the city's Office of the Environment George Hawkins spoke as well. There was some discussion throughout (and especially at the end) about how the slowing economy might be impacting both the city's plans and developers' projects, but the mayor remains optimistic.
The press release from the mayor's office sums up the main points of today's event, but here's the Near Southeast-specific highlights from both the remarks and some other chatter of the day. First up, news of the three big parks:
The city "will break ground at Diamond Teague Park by the end of 2008." (And the guide for tomorrow's fair says that the park will be completed in spring 2009, which is the same date we've been hearing for a while.) The mayor also touted the operating agreement with Forest City Washington to build and maintain the $42 million, 5-acre Park at the Yards (but you knew about this already), as well as the the agreement with the Canal Park Development Corp. to build the $13.1 million, three-block-long park. (No mention of school buses.)
Then there's the bridges: Reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges is scheduled to begin in mid-2009. (The shortlist of firms vying for the design-build contract was announced a few weeks ago.) Whether we actually see heavy equipment moving in mid-2009, or whether this just marks the first part of the design-build project is not quite clear. I was also told that the contract to demolish the flyover ramps to and from RFK could be completed soon, and that demolition would happen not long after the contract is signed.
Plus, the final Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street and the Douglass Bridge is expected in spring 2009; that's when we'll hear which of the four bridge designs has been chosen.
As for the river itself, the city has started real-time water quality monitoring, updated automatically online 24 hours a day. There's also now the Anacostia 2032 Plan "to make the Anacostia River boatable, swimmable, and fishable in 25 years." And a Green Summer Jobs Corps was created earlier this year to "engage youth in the cleaning and greening of District neighborhoods and parks and to introduce them to green-collar job opportunities."
Finally, a planning process is underway to revamp Boathouse Row, the stretch of boat clubs along the Anacostia between 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. (I took a bunch of photos near the boathouses a few months back, and have been lazy about ever getting them posted, though you can see a few boathouse-free shots of the environs here and here.)
There's more about projects elsewhere along the Anacostia, but other bloggers get to cover those. Will update this post if there's any media coverage from today's event, and will have a fresh post on Saturday after the fair. I imagine I'll Twitter a bit from those festivities (like I did from today's); remember that if you aren't a Twitter-er, you can read my tweets on the JDLand homepage--check 'em out frequently, because I do sometimes post news there first, before I write full blog entries.
SATURDAY FAIR UPDATE: They're now going to be providing free shuttle bus service from the New Jersey & M Metro entrance to/from the ballpark, from 12:30 pm to 5:15 pm. (After they heard somewhere that the Half and M subway entrance is going to be closed on Saturday.)

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

Lots of New Photos From Around The Yards
Oct 31, 2008 1:15 PM
As I mentioned a few days ago, I was able to snag some time behind the fences at The Yards this week (with permission!!) and took a bunch of pictures. I also took this opportunity to do a bit of cleanup on the many Yards pages on this site, so if you haven't wandered through all of them in a while, I suggest taking the time to do so, keeping an eye out for the ubiquitous icon. Some highlights (click through to the pages for more details on each project):
* I posted a fair number of photos (plus some new renderings) of the Foundry Lofts at Third and Tingey, where the new top two floors are starting to be framed. You can also see how the a portion of the new Water Street just south of the Foundry has been paved, and curbs have been installed; ditto with the new portion of Third Street that will run alongside the building down to the park.
* There aren't really many exciting new photos of the Yards Park yet, but I added in new renderings and also spruced up the page some. The park and the Foundry Lofts apartments (along with the Boilermaker Shop retail pavilion) are expected to deliver in mid-2010.
* I made my first close-up visit to the Factory 202 building at Fifth and M (the old Gun Assembly Building), and got a few new images like the one at right. (Look for the "Pistol Range" photo for added entertainment.) This building is expected to be condos, delivering in 2011.
* I added a lot of new images to the Later Phases page, where you can see a good close-up of the little Building 74 next to Factory 202, which will eventually be townhouses. You'll also see more of the infrastructure work going on, including curb cuts already in place at Fourth and Tingey (even though the southern part of Fourth doesn't exist there yet). There's also a new red brick wall going in along the boundary with the Navy Yard, where a new block of Fifth Street will be built.
* You should also check out my Yards Overview page for the hard-to-read map, to help orient yourself to all the locations.
* Or, if you just want a pile of pictures without the "guided tour," here's all the new photos on one page (which includes images not posted on any of the above pages.) Click the icon to see other photos from the past few years from the same location.
Hopefully that's enough to keep everyone entertained for a while.

Yards Park Public-Private Partnership Announced
Oct 29, 2008 2:17 PM
This morning inside the Boilermaker Shop at Fourth and Tingey Mayor Fenty announced the completion of a $42 million public-private partnership to fund and maintain the 5.5-acre Waterfront Park at The Yards. He was joined by Forest City's Deborah Ratner Salzberg, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, and Capitol Riverfront BID executive director Michael Stevens, all of whom extolled the potential not only of the park (the neighborhood's "front yard", Stevens said) but of all of what is coming to Near Southeast. In the press release, Fenty is quoted as saying, "This is a great example of the kind of great urban spaces we can create when we think creatively and work together with partners who share our vision for transforming the banks of the Anacostia River into a world class waterfront."
Construction will begin on the park in January, and is being funded by the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) that the city created last year. Once the park is built, the BID will be in charge of maintaining and "programming" it. One caveat for those who have been looking forward to seeing the park completed--it is now scheduled for a mid-2010 opening, along with the Boilermaker Shop and the Pattern Shop Foundry Lofts (they renamed the dang building; I can't wait to change it everywhere on the site).
I took a few photos at the event (seems like it's been forever since there was one of these, especially after the avalanche of them back in 2007 and early 2008). You'll also see on that page the latest renderings of the park, the Foundry Lofts building, and some views along Water Street. The park images aren't new, but the others are, and it may be a few days before I get them integrated into the site, so I figured I'd toss them up here for now.
I also got to take a tour behind the fences across much of the 44 acres of The Yards, and of course snapped a bunch of photos. However, since there are hardly any *streets* in most of these locations just yet, it makes my cataloging and posting of pictures much more time-consuming than with other projects. So I hope to post them in the next few days. At least the sun was out, unlike last time!
There was a fair amount of media at this event, so check back for links to stories (and the press releases, once they're posted).
UPDATE: A video report from NBC4, and a few paragraphs from the Post. The AP gave it a little write-up, too. And the Yards has now posted its own press release.

Development Slows in Ballpark District; Yards Park Funding Announcement on Wednesday
Oct 28, 2008 11:30 PM
Nothing in this WashTimes piece will be news for people who wander by here on a regular basis, but "Economy halts developers' ballpark plans" is a good survey that's probably still worth a read in case you've missed something. The crux is that the current economy has put an end to building on spec--"'Until you're getting your office building 70 percent leased up, you're not moving forward,' said Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District." And with things as they are, companies aren't moving to new office space, either. There's also this: "Monument Vice President Russell Hines said the financing difficulty is not because of pre-leasing requirements but rather demands for larger amounts of collateral on loans. Lenders once were willing to finance 75 percent of a project with only the project itself as collateral. Now, however, companies ask developers to put up additional assets to back the loan, even for just 50 percent financing."
One thing that is moving forward: Wednesday morning the mayor will be announcing a $42 million public/private deal between Forest City, the city, and the BID to build and maintain the 5.5-acre waterfront park at The Yards. The target date for the park has been mid-2009; we'll see at tomorrow's event whether that's still in the cards.
UPDATE: On his blog, Tim Lemke of the Times addresses a few issues that Forest City had with his article. And my entry on the park announcement is here.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

Upcoming Events: Living Classrooms Fundraiser, Navy Yard Special Events
Oct 22, 2008 3:13 PM
* A reminder that Friday night (Oct. 24) is the "Night at the Yards" fundraiser for Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region. Individual tickets are $125 in advance, $135 at the door for the event to be held in a big tent at Fourth and Tingey, with music by the English Beat and Rita Rocks. Living Classrooms is planning to eventually build its new main campus building on the eastern end of the waterfront park at the Yards, near the Navy Yard.
* Also on Friday night is the annual "Ghost Ship Barry" event, where kids can take a haunted tour of the display ship Barry at the Navy Yard. "The Ghost Ship Barry is suitable for children ages 4-9 from 5 to 7pm. After 7pm, Ghost Ship Barry will become much scarier and is only appropriate for children over the age of 9. This event is free and open to the public, but a 24-hour RSVP to 202-433-6897 is required for entry to the Washington Navy Yard. Please do not wear Halloween costumes for safety reasons."
* On Saturday night (Oct. 25) the Navy Yard is offering a candlelight tour, starting at the Navy Museum at 7 pm. This is also free and open to the public, but also requires a 24-hour RSVP for entry. Free parking is available.
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More posts: Navy Yard, The Yards, Yards Park

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

NCPC to Give Approval to Diamond Teague Park Plans
Sep 3, 2008 5:04 PM
On the consent agenda of Thursday's National Capital Planning Commission meeting is a request for "approval of preliminary and final site development plans" for Diamond Teague Park, the new public park to be built by the city on the Anacostia River at the foot of First Street, SE, just across Potomac Avenue from Nationals Park.
As I've written about in the past, plans call for piers to be built around the red brick Capitol Pumphouse that is home to the Earth Conservation Corps, and there will also be floating docks that will allow visitors to see the wetlands along the water's edge (one of the last waterfront segments in the area not to have been bulkheaded, apparently). Benches, granite paths, and a garden will be installed, along with a memorial to Diamond Teague, the ECC volunteer who was murdered in 2003. Eventually this park will be connected via a floating boardwalk to the Waterfront Park at the Yards.
In the Executive Director's recommendation, the NCPC commends the city "for linking this project to planned open space along the waterfront to provide a continuous public open space system along the Anacostia River; for developing a portion of the Anacostia River as a high-quality urban park with a mix of recreational opportunities that emphasizes the river's ecological and scenic qualities and character; and for providing accommodations for a water taxi system to serve the neighborhood and the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium."
Statements over the summer from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (which is stewarding the park) indicated that work will begin on the park this fall, with this first phase completed by spring 2009. (And yes, that includes the water taxi piers. Though there's been no word yet of any deals with taxi companies.)
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More posts: Teague Park, Water Taxis/Riverboats, The Yards, Yards Park

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

More Photos from Inside the Yards (Park, Shed)
Jul 25, 2008 1:50 PM
The skies were threatening during my visit, so these aren't the most shimmering photos, but I do now have a big batch of new photos from the areas along the Anacostia River that by the end of next year should be transformed into the nearly six-acre Waterfront Park at the Yards. Right now it's mainly a lot of dirt, so I suggest spending some time looking closely at the rendering at the top of the page to orient yourself to the locations of the various photos and what the vistas should eventually look like. (The map at the top of my main Yards overview page is helpful, too.) I also got some photos inside the Lumber Storage Shed, that oddly terra cotta-colored building near the water's edge which will be having its corregated tin exterior stripped and replaced with glass as it's turned into a retail pavilion.
I've also posted some additional photos in the archive at spots where intersections will exist later this year when River and Water streets are created and when Fourth and Fifth are extended down toward the water. (Again, look at the map.) Really, these photos are nothing more than placeholders, but I just had to have the "befores" in order to be able to enjoy the "afters" someday....
(And don't miss my photos posted a few days ago of the interior of the Boilermaker Shop and of the latest progress on the Pattern Shop Lofts building.)

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

Speaking of the Yards - Twilight Renderings
Jun 27, 2008 2:50 PM
I've been coveting electronic versions of the newer twilight-styled renderings of upcoming Yards projects, which have been taunting me from the fence drapings along Tingey and Fourth streets; and now I've gotten my mitts on them. Above is an overhead shot of the Waterfront Park, showing not only the various landmarks planned for this stretch along the Anacostia, but also perhaps a first peek or two at designs for some of the later-phase buildings to the north of the 5.8-acre park. I've also now got dusk-time renderings for the brown-and-white Pattern Shop Lofts apartment building and the retail-to-be Boilermaker Shop. All three of these projects should open in 2009 (though the park's piers and retail pavilions will be happening in future phases).

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

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

This Week in Zoning: 250 M, Yards Park
May 27, 2008 2:03 PM
There's two Near Southeast projects with hearings in front of the Zoning Commission this week:
* On Wednesday (5/28) the ZC will hear the request to extend the height of the office building planned for 250 M Street. I've written about this here, and you can read the Office of Planning's final report for much more detail on the request (and see the latest design). OP recommends approval of what is technically a modification to the Capper/Carrollsburg second-stage PUD (yes, this office building is part of the Capper redevelopment). After initially refusing to vote on the plan because of a lack of community benefits, ANC 6D voted 3-3 on it at its May meeting, which means there will be no support from the ANC. (I wasn't at this meeting, so I can't give you the specifics of what the developer offered to the ANC, or why the resolution didn't pass.) It's possible that 250 M will begin construction this year, but there's no confirmation of that.
* The next night (Thursday 5/29) the ZC will undertake a Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay District Review for the first-phase plans of the 5.5-acre waterfront park at The Yards. This design was approved by the National Capital Planning Commission back in February (with some suggestions for refining the pedestrian bridge that is one of the focal points of the design). The Office of Planning report for Thursday's hearing gives a lot of good detail on the plans for the park, as does my original entry from when the design was unveiled. OP supports the design for the park, while also hoping for refinements to the bridge and noting that there should be additional bike racks. You can all sorts of cool renderings of the plans on my Yards Park project page. The first phase of the park is expected to be finished by the end of 2009; subsequent phases, which will include piers and retail pavilions, will come later.
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More posts: 250 M, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Monday ANC Meeting Agenda Items
May 11, 2008 3:37 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been sent around (although not posted on their web site, sigh), and it has a couple of Near Southeast items. There will be a presentation on the plans for the Waterfront Park at The Yards, in advance of a May 29 Southeast Federal Center Overlay District Review covering new structures that will be built to house retail pavilions at the park. There's also apparently a public space permit application from the Onyx folks at 1100 First Street for a fence along L Street, plus garden masonry piers and light fixtures. And the developers of the 250 M Street office building are back again, after having not gotten very far at last month's meeting with their request for support for a second-stage PUD modification at a May 28 zoning hearing to increase the building's height (but not its square footage) from what was originally approved, since the commissioners wanted a new round of community benefits in return for their support, which W.C. Smith balked at given that the project isn't requesting to take any new amount of public space. We'll see if there were any negotiations since then. The meeting will be at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW.
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More posts: 250 M, ANC News, M Street, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

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

Some New Photos From The Yards
Apr 10, 2008 2:17 PM
A few days ago I promised to post some updated photos I'd taken in The Yards, which I'm finally getting to. (Been sick as a dog for more than week now, which I blame squarely on Mother Nature's poor performance during the first games at the ballpark.) They're not exactly barnburner photos, since they're mostly shots of either newly paved parking lots or scads of dirt waiting to be turned into something. But, follow the icon for new images of the Boilermaker Shop (above), the Waterfront Park, and the Pattern Shop Lofts, all of which are scheduled to open in 2009.
I've also added additional photos to the archive, at "intersections" that don't actually exist just yet, but provide additional views of what's happened so far: 1 1/2 Half at N (where the old GPO building was--seriously, it's going to be called "1 1/2 Street"); Second at Tingey and Second at Water (which will become real intersections when Second is eventually built south of Tingey and Water Street becomes a new road north of the park); and Third and Tingey (which will become more of an intersection when Third Street is extended one block south, to the new Water Street). See the map to get a clearer idea of what I'm babbling about. And eventually I'll take some new photos from the Fourth Street side, too.

Post Interview with Forest City Washington Chief
Apr 7, 2008 9:29 AM
This morning's Post has an interview with Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington, the company behind The Yards and much of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. Bullet points of interest:
* Salzberg says that they're "just beginning construction" on the 170-unit Pattern Shop Lofts, with work starting this summer on the 45,000-sq-ft Boilermaker Shop retail space and the Waterfront Park. All three are expected to be opened by fall of 2009 (though I think there will be later phases of the park with additional offerings, such as the water taxi piers she mentions). The Boilermaker Shop will have "restaurants, a bookstore and possibly a climbing wall."
* She says (as we heard a few weeks ago) that construction will begin this summer on the Capitol Quarter mixed-income townhouses at Capper.
There's going to be more of the interview posted today on the Post's WashBizBlog; I'll add the link when it's available. UPDATE: Here's the complete interview.
This would have been a fabulous time for me to post those new photos I took in The Yards this weekend, but alas, I haven't gotten to them yet. Soon, I promise.

Ballpark and Beyond This Week - Yards Park
Feb 14, 2008 9:58 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra is about the new Waterfront Park at The Yards: "Although Nationals Park is getting the lion's share of attention these days as Near Southeast's biggest development, the 42-acre site two blocks to the east known as the Yards is starting its transformation away from its former life as the barren walled-off Southeast Federal Center. And we're now getting our first peeks at early designs for the development's 5.8-acre park on the banks of the Anacostia River. Designed by M. Paul Friedberg and Partners, the park will have "passive and active" recreation spaces, along with retail and entertainment offerings that Yards developer Forest City Washington believes will make it a lively year-round destination for residents and tourists in the daytime and at night." And it'll be right across from the soccer stadium!
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

Yards Park Design Approved by NCPC
Feb 11, 2008 10:12 AM
Last Thursday the National Capital Planning Commission gave unanimous approval to the early designs of the Waterfront Park at The Yards, which was not a surprise given the nice things said about it in the Staff Recommendation. According to the NCPC web site (I wasn't at the meeting), the commission "commended the applicant, the General Services Administration; the developer, Forest City Washington; and the team's designers for the quality of the design, the range of activities the park will support, its visual and physical connections, and for creatively adapting the design to the site's ground elevation constraints." The design was also endorsed by the Commission on Fine Arts last month.
I've now received a pretty fabulous aerial-view rendering of the park, which I've added to my newly rejiggered page for the project (I've finally separated out the five phase I projects at the Yards onto their own pages), where you can also see a few additional renderings of the design, keeping in mind that these are still preliminary plans--and the NCPC staff recommendation document has even more drawings and detail. Forest City's plan is to complete the first phase of the park in summer 2009, with the retail buildings and the piers and marinas to follow.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park

First Look at the Waterfront Park at the Yards
Feb 2, 2008 11:43 AM
A slew of site plans and renderings showing the designs for the Waterfront Park at the Yards have now entered into the public record, thanks to requirements that early designs (35%) be shown to the National Capital Planning Commission. The NCPC will be voting on the designs at this Thursday's meeting, and NCPC staff is recommending is that they be approved.
The staff recommendation document is must reading for anyone interested in the park, as it lays out many of the plans for the 5.5-acre site. There will be a huge "Great Lawn" on the western portion of the site (south of what will be an extended Second Street). The currently existing inlet will be extended northward for a shallow "Canal Basin", with an elaborate pedestrian bridge above it. The designs also show the basic location of piers, marinas, and a water taxi stand (cue Nats fans salivating), although the review of their designs will come later. The existing Lumber Storage Shed (Building 173) will be renovated into glass-enclosed retail and entertainment offering, and two other buildings will eventually come to the park as well. At the eastern end will be a "River Garden", a shadier, more lush area of greenery. There will also eventually be some sort of "vertical iconic element" erected on the pier at Third Street, but no details are yet divulged.
It's estimated that the park will open in 2010. I have some photos of what the park area looks like now, and have also included a few of the new renderings, but it's been a tough spot to get to over the years. (If your browser doesn't jump you to the right place, scroll to the bottom of the page. I'm gonna have to revamp my Yards stuff--it's too much going on to try to shoehorn into my current design scheme!)
UPDATE: I should also mention, for those of you interested in parking issues, that blacktop is now being put down on the open lot at The Yards south of Tingey between New Jersey and Third.....
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More posts: Water Taxis/Riverboats, The Yards, Yards Park

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

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

New Web Site for The Yards
Aug 10, 2007 7:43 PM
After months of a placeholder site, a new information-filled web site for The Yards was launched today (maybe they don't want the world to know, but I happened to stumble across it, so I'm spilling the beans). The biggest news I unearthed while browsing around is that they're saying that the 5.5-acre waterfront park (or at least some portion of it) is scheduled to be open in summer 2009, a year earlier than some previous dates I had heard. There's also a nice map showing the three phases of the project, with the initial projects I've described on my Yards page coming online in 2009 and 2010--the retail renovation of the Boilermarker Shop and 170 apartments at the Pattern Joiner Shop [and the park] scheduled to be completed in 2009, and the office building at 401 M Street (with a grocery store), 271 condos at Building 202, and 180 apartments in a new building at 4th and Tingey all expected in 2010. Phase two would be more residential and retail buildings opening between 2011 and 2013. Phase three would be the portions of the site along First Street and west of New Jersey.
If you want to know what it all looks like now, of course, my Yards pages can help you with that.

More posts: Retail, The Yards, Yards Park

PILOT Financing for Parks - And a Ferry Pier
Jul 12, 2007 9:14 AM
At Tuesday's council meeting, an emergency resolution was passed to allow the issuance of bonds that will bring $140 million in proceeds to fund various Anacostia waterfront projects, including the waterfront park at The Yards and Diamond Teague Park. The money is coming from a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes agreement for the Department of Transportation HQ, land that can't be taxed by the city because it's federal property. The original PILOT bill laying out the specifics was passed last October and the city and DOT developer JBG signed the agreement in February. I'm not 100% sure why there's now this new emergency resolution, although my bleary-eyed morning reading of it sees that perhaps the council was required to officially approve which projects were designated to get the funding. And, in order to issue the bonds before the end of this fiscal year, the council needed to act quickly, hence the emergency legislation.
A tidbit from the resolution: one of the projects listed as needing this funding is "a new ferry pier at the foot of First Street, SE"; this is the Diamond Teague Park location that's right across the street from the ballpark. I've been hearing rumors lately that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has the building of this pier on a very fast track, with the intention of getting it ready by Opening Day 2008; there's scuttlebutt is that the permit applications have already been filed with the US Army Corps of Engineers, though I don't see evidence of that just yet. Perhaps we'll hear more about this at tomorrow's hearing on the move of the AWC into the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
More posts: Nationals Park, Teague Park, The Yards, Yards Park

Lots of New Yards Renderings
Jun 29, 2007 9:23 AM
With many thanks to Forest City Washington, I've posted a bunch of renderings of the four projects that are on the boards at The Yards in its first phase of development. These came from the submission on the first phase that FC made in advance of its July 12 presentation in front of the National Capital Planning Commission, and while they have some nice drawings of the plans that I've written about in the past for renovating three of the historic buildings at the old Southeast Federal Center, the big news is the first hints of what's planned for "Parcel D", currently a parking lot on the east side of 4th Street south of M: it's to be a residential building the south end of the site and an office building on the north end that would have a grocery store on the ground floor at 4th and M. The drawings also show the additional floors to be added to the brown-and-white Building 160 and imposing red-brick Building 202, both of which have interior atrium/courtyards I never knew about. And there's a few cool renderings of the plans for transforming the very industrial Building 167 that sits right behind the new DOT HQ into retail space. (Plans for the five-acre waterfront park and other areas in the Yards were not part of this submission.)
I didn't get the entire submission, so I'm not knee-deep in details, but everyone should definitely look at these drawings to see what's coming at The Yards. We should be seeing the beginnings of the streetscape improvements Any Minute Now (which include landscaping that barren area on the west side of New Jersey Ave. south of M), but the completion of the Building 167 retail and Building 160 residential won't happen before 2009, and the Parcel D/grocery store project *could* finish in 2010. So don't pack your bags or write your shopping list just yet.

Post Writes About The Yards
May 28, 2007 9:34 AM
Today's Post Business section has "A Neighborhood Rises at The Yards," which gives a quick overview of the plans for the old Southeast Federal Center, as well as a profile of Deborah Ratner Salzberg of Forest City Washington. The article mentions a lot of what I posted back in March, that the infrastructure work at the Yards will begin soon (sewer lines, paving streets, putting up street lights and planting trees) so that it can look a bit more presentable when baseball arrives across the street in 2008. (It's expected that surface parking for stadium-goers will be available on lots at The Yards not slated for immediate redevelopment, but no announcement has been made yet.) The article also confirms my previously posted information that the brown-and-white Building 160/Old Pattern/Joiner Shop will be rehabilitated as a residential building, with an expected completion date in 2009. The article also mentions that Building 173/the Old Lumber Storage Shed (the terra cotta-colored building at the north end of the site of the planned five-acre waterfront park) will be remade into a restaurant pavilion; the first phase of the park is expected in 2010. Additional near-term projects not mentioned in the story are the planned renovation of Building 167/the Old Boiler Maker's Shop just to the rear of the new DOT HQ into a retail building and the redevelopment of Building 202/the Old Gun Assembly Shop at 5th and M into another residential block in a joint project between Forest City and PN Hoffman.
You can look at my Yards overview page for a hard-to-read map and guide to the various projects expected to come during the many years of the Yards' redevelopment; there's also plenty of pictures on the Yards Photos tab, as well as a new rendering that appeared with the Post story of what Building 160's renovation will look like. You'll also see at the top of the page a shot of the new Yards sign that appeared at 1st and N this past week.

The Yards Web Site
May 3, 2007 6:45 PM
The Yards (formerly known as the Southeast Federal Center) now has more than just a placeholder image at its web site, dcyards.com. There's now a form to fill out if you're interested in more information, and also one if you're looking for details on their local, small and disadvantaged business enterprises (LSDBE) programs. The site says that overall they're planning 2,800 residential units, 1.8 million square feet of new office space, 300,000 square feet of retail, and of course the 5.5-acre waterfront park--this is of course over a multiyear period (like, say, 10 years), but they say that the first office and residential projects will be available in 2010. One of the first retail projects (scheduled to open in mid-2009) will be the renovating of the Old Boiler Maker's Shop/Building 167, at the corner of 4th and Tingey as a shopping space. As for the other projects, I had heard not too long ago that some of the residential projects, which involve the renovation of two existing buildings, would be ready by 2009, but I guess the schedule has changed. Will try to find out more; for now, you can get more details and photos on my Yards page.
More posts: Boilermaker Shops/Yards, The Yards, Yards Park