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Zoning News: Yes to Vet, and Capper Hearing to Come
Feb 14, 2014 12:16 PM
Now that I've come out of my snow bunker (being a weather geek is a terrible disease), I'll pass along these notes from the past week or so in Zoning Land:
: The commission on Feb. 6 approved 5-0-0 Forest City's request for a wording change to allow a veterinary hospital to operate in the Southeast Federal Center Overlay
area (basically, the Yards
As I wrote a week or so ago, a vet is a potential tenant
's retail space on Tingey Street, but before a lease can be signed, "veterinary boarding hospital and veterinary hospital uses" needed to be added to the SFC overlay's allowed uses, subject to a number of conditions (no more than 50 percent of the tenant space can be for boarding, that any animal legally sold in the District can be boarded, incidental boarding of animals for convalesence is allowed, order and waste handling requirements, and that grooming and supplies can only be "accessory" uses). There was some back-and-forth about the word "incidental," and it was agreed that that wording be better phrased before the final vote.
Forest City does not announce tenants until a lease is executed, so the name of the potential vet has not been released.
: On Feb. 10, the commission voted to "set down" for a full hearing the Housing Authority's request to modify the Capper
PUD to allow 30 of the affordable housing units planned for squares 739, 767 and 768 to be transferred outside the Capper boundaries
to the block where the Park Chelsea
is currently under construction. (See the this map
culled from the Office of Planning Report
to help you visualize.)
The planning folks have a number of issues
they want DCHA to address before the hearing on this modification, but not among them is the biggest issue that ANC 6D has with Square 767: that the Housing Authority is thinking about a plan
that would change the original plans for a single 147-unit mixed-income building to two buildings, one a market rate-only condo building and the other an affordable housing-only building. (This plan is not mentioned in the housing authority's filings with the zoning commission.)
During the discussion, commission chair Anthony Hood noted that ANC 6D is "one of the ANCs that this commission knows is very engaged," which was in reference to the strongly worded letter the commission received
with 6D's concerns that they and the community still need to be "appropriately briefed" about DCHA's plans, and that the commission be able to "fully vet our concerns with them regarding the request for modification." Hood also said, "Let's make sure the next vote we see shows that everyone is working together."
Concurrently, the commission's vote also deferred action on DCHA's parallel request for a five-year extension to the PUD covering these same three squares, saying that the extension request decision hinges on the modification case's decision. The Office of Planning is recommending just a two-year extension
, and zoning commissioner Marcie Cohen said that DCHA needs to provide much more detailed information on the steps taken up to this point to secure financing, since it is her opinion that the initial filing doesn't seem show a "compelling need" for an exemption.
The hearing date isn't yet set, and DCHA will have to go to ANC 6D (and probably 6B as well) in order to request support before its zoning commission appearance. The Housing Authority and 6D have had a pretty contentious relationship over the years in regards to the Capper redevelopment, and it's unlikely that the deliberations over this zoning request will change that.
Condo Project May Be Coming to Yards; Other Yards Updates
Feb 3, 2014 8:38 PM
During Monday night's Zoning Commission hearing on allowing the move of the trapeze school
from "Parcel O" at 4th and Tingey in the Yards to another space at New Jersey Avenue, Forest City's Ramsey Meiser revealed that the company is planning to sell a portion of Parcel O to allow for the development of a condo project there.
Meiser explained that while Forest City doesn't do condo development, "we want to have for-sale product at the Yards," hence the potential deal. The zoning filings say that "Parcel O will be developed in 2014/2015 and construction on Parcel O is expected to be completed by 2016/2017."
I've asked for further detail on this, which I may or may not get anytime soon, and I will update when I receive more.
Other tidbits that came out of the hearing:
* Forest City is in the process of hiring an architect to design a residential building for Parcel H, which is the western half of the parking lot on the southeast corner of 1st and N, directly across from Nationals Park and north of DC Water. There appears to be a desire to develop that site within the next couple of years.
* The company expects the demolition of the NGA building at 1st and M to take approximately six months, and that the reconfiguration of the block
to include the trapeze school, a new park on the north end, and a slightly shrunken parking lot would be completed by the end of 2014.
* The new park, which with the rest of the block would be a temporary use until office buildings are constructed, has enough open green space that Forest City expects to work with the BID to activate it for some sorts of smaller sports activities (bocce and kickball yes, softball probably not).
Oh, and the commission voted 5-0 to approve the special exceptions to allow trapeze school and parking lot on the south end of the 1st and M block
, on the sites technically known as Parcels F and G. (The park would be on Parcel A.) There was some back-and-forth about the need for trees on the site--they weren't included in the plans because Forest City expects buildings to eventually replace the temporary uses, but Forest City has agreed to work with DDOT and the Office of Planning on the issue, and the zoning commissioners did not feel it warranted delaying their vote.
In my haste to get this posted, I should have mentioned that the original Yards plans did include a condo project--a plan to have PN Hoffman convert Building 202
, the red brick building at 5th and M east of what's now Twelve12
. But that project has seemed to stall.
Yards Zoning Cases: Trapeze Move, and Maybe a Vet
Feb 3, 2014 12:03 PM
In a nice break from its evaluations of boxy 13-story buildings, the Zoning Commission this week has on its agenda two cases dealing with somewhat unusual development requests at the Yards.
The first, which is being heard tonight, has to do with the reconfiguration of the block at 1st and M streets SE after spooky Building 213 gets demolished sometime in the coming months.
As I wrote back in December
, Forest City is wanting to move Trapeze School New York from its current 4th and Tingey location to the northwest corner of New Jersey and Tingey, shrink and reconfigure the existing 1st Street parking lot by 22 spaces, and build a temporary public park on the north half of the block. (The overview drawing
at right can help you visualize this.)
The parking lot and the trapeze school move each require zoning approvals for these new temporary five-year uses--if you want the serious details on why, and the evaluation of the zoning rules therein, read the Office of Planning report
ANC 6D and the Office of Planning have both supported this request, and this week the National Capital Planning Commission is adding its support
So, in honor of what apparently will be a year of change on this block, I've built a Yards Parcel A project page
, to be sure that Building 213's soulless windowless existence (and its brief ArtYards fling with color) is not forgotten.
The second zoning request, to be heard on Thursday, Feb. 6, is to amend the text of the Southeast Federal Center Overlay
to allow "veterinary boarding hospital and veterinary hospital uses" subject to a number of conditions
within the footprint of the Yards.
This text is being added because of apparent interest from a veterinary hospital in leasing space in the ground floor of the soon-to-be completed Twelve12 apartment building
at 4th and Tingey, and the SEFC overlay does not specifically allow veterinary services, so it has to be spelled out.
And it's not a surprise that a vet is looking at the area--the Office of Planning report
sites a Capitol Riverfront BID survey saying that 40 percent of neighborhood residents have pets.
The Office and Planning and ANC 6D also support this request.
Temporary Park, Trapeze School Move Sought for 1st and M
Dec 5, 2013 9:59 AM
With the currently be-muraled
former NGA building at 1st and M Street SE expected to be demolished early in 2014, Forest City Washington is making plans for temporary uses for that block while it works on longer-range plans to build office and retail space on the site, which is at the northwest corner of the Yards
To that end, the company has filed a request for the Zoning Commission's approval of a temporary (unfenced!) park/open space along M between New Jersey and 1st, as well as the relocation of the Trapeze School from its current location at 4th and Tingey to the northwest corner of New Jersey and N/Tingey.
There would also remain a parking lot on the site, but it would be shifted to just the southwest corner of the block, and would have 208 spaces instead of the 230 currently there. Access to the lot would be from N Street. (At the same time, because of DC Water's ongoing construction, the parking lot immediately to the south across N would be losing 50 spaces, down to 344.)
As you can (kind of) see in the site plan
, there would be a path running from northeast to southwest across the park, making for a nice shortcut to the ballpark for fans coming out of the Metro at New Jersey and M. And it would give the four corners of this block a slightly different feel than the current vistas:
The filing says that the Trapeze School needs to be moved not only because the zoning order allowing it to be on its current site expires at the end of 2014, but also because development is planned for that 4th and Tingey site ("Parcel O") to be completed by 2016/2017. It also says that Parcel H, on the southeast corner of 1st and N where the Yards "tent" display and parking lot is, is expected to be developed beginning in 2015, and that an RFP process is currently underway to select an architect. This would be another residential building with street-level retail.
There is no timeline laid out for when this NGA block is expected to be fully developed, though it's always been expected to be part of the final phase of the Yard's planned 10-to-20-year timeline.
Speaking of the be-muraled building and the ArtYards project going on at this block, there will be a "Chalk Art Street Festival" at the site this weekend (Dec. 7 and 8). There will be hot chocolate and treats, along with lots of chalk for kids of all ages to create their own masterpieces on the parking lot.
Four-Phase Residential Project Proposed for East M Street
Nov 6, 2013 9:01 AM
In another blast from the past, we've learned from WBJ
that the Cohen Companies have filed zoning paperwork for their proposed project at 1333 M Street SE, a mere 3 1/2 years since they last discussed the development of this three-acre triangular plot of land
east of the 11th Street Bridges near the Anacostia River.
However, it's no longer the 815,000-sq-ft office/hotel/retail project
that was unveiled in 2010 -- Cohen, developer of the Velocity Condos
at 1st and L, now is proposing a four-phase, three-building project
with 673 residential units and 10,370 square feet of retail use. WBJ quotes Eric Siegel of Cohen as saying "the office market is just not there" in DC, and that the company felt that "creating a sense of place with a residential community was a much better opportunity than just creating an office environment."
Currently the site is home to, well, not much. Temporary trailers and surface parking were installed as part of the 11th Street Bridges project, and this stretch of M is pretty ripped up now as part of DC Water's big dig. To the west of the site are the two buildings and large surface parking lots of Maritime Plaza, and south of Water Street is the stretch of waterfront uses known as Boathouse Row
. The invisible "intersection" of 13th and M
is probably known to passersby only because of the somewhat incongruous mini-traffic circle built there. The eastern end of the triangle is where Water Street meets M, which isn't exactly exciting either (though my photos
of that spot are from before DC Water started ripping it up). Directly to the north of the triangle are both the CSX train tracks and the stretch of road that is on its way to becoming Southeast Blvd
The first phase of the project
would be a 10-story, 218-unit building, viewed in the design as the first of two towers in a single building at 1333 M. A large open lawn area would be installed to the south of the building, at least until construction of the second tower, planned for Phase II, which would have 133 units in a nine-story building.
Together, the two buildings would have 7,200 square feet of retail and 112 parking spaces. A retail plaza would be on the south side of Tower B, and a ground-level pool would be built during the second phase between the two towers, as would a large "grand staircase" down to Water Street from the promenade along the southern edge of the property that is expected to be built during Phase I.
Phase III/Building 2 would be built on the west end of the triangle and would have 234 units in an 11-story building that would also contain 3,170 square feet of retail, and Phase IV/Building 3 would be a teensy nine-story 88-unit building on the eastern end of the site.
There would also eventually be a new street coming off the traffic circle on a portion of the south side of the site at 13th and M, named Virginia Avenue since it is on the footprint of the original avenue (which disappeared east of 11th at some point many years ago).
The zoning application describes the project as "a visionary mixed-use development that reactivates the Anacostia River and provides evocative public spaces giving a full life cycle to the previously underutilized site," intended to "celebrate the waterfront, by creating a dynamic promenade down to the river with a flexible retail plaza space where pedestrians, cyclists, retail users, residents and cultural events come together."
It may be worth noting that, should the Maritime Plaza folks ever build the final phases of that development, the river views across huge parking lots to the southwest of the Cohen site will probably be altered somewhat.
Someone will probably ask about the remediation issues for this site (which I mentioned back in 2010
). This is part of the old Washington Gas/Steuart Petroleum site, and it was previously discussed that soil approximately 11 feet below grade is contaminated. There is no mention in the new zoning filings about this, but I'm guessing it will be brought up at some point. UPDATE:
The magic of Twitter allows me to get word
that Cohen says the contamination has been cleaned.
I could go into all manner of additional detail about the plans, but with a project this big with a zoning PUD to go through I figure I have plenty of time to get to the nitty gritty. But don't let that stop anyone from hashing over the design, the location, the probability of completion, and more. (Meanwhile, compare it all to the 2010 office/hotel/retail plans, just for the fun of it
Movie Theater Zoning Plans Submitted; Late '15 Opening?
Mar 1, 2013 11:06 AM
Forest City Washington is moving forward with the plans for a sixteen screen movie theater
near Nationals Park
, having submitted a truckload of documents this week to the Zoning Commission for its plans to redevelop more than five acres of land currently occupied by DC Water.
, which sits between the current footprint of the Yards
and the ballpark, would be turned into four new city blocks with 600 residential units in two buildings, an expansion of Diamond Teague Park, and somewhere around 50,000 square feet in retail, which would include the theater that we first heard about a few months ago.
The plan apparently would be to build the theater first (and in fact FCW is requesting second-stage PUD approval for the theater plans, for those of you who know what that means), and in the zoning filing FCW says that they intend to file for building permits by this fall and start construction by the beginning of 2014, with an expected opening of the theater by late 2015.
There would be 337 parking spaces at the theater, which would be above-ground and contained within the first four floors of the theater building. DC Water would continue its operations on the other three blocks that are part of this plan while the theater is constructed and operating, with the development of those blocks waiting until those operations can be relocated (and, of course, "subject to market conditions)."
A few months ago I wrote in great detail about the plans for the theater itself
, expected to be operated by Showplace Icon, after a public meeting was held for residents about the crowds that might be drawn, who seemed mostly mollified by the "policies to encourage courteous behavior." Read that post for more
There should be a hearing on these plans within the next few months. And I'll dig through the documents to look for more tidbits, but mainly I wanted folks to finally see a rendering!
Monument Realty Planning 'One M Street' Office Building
Dec 20, 2012 10:39 AM
On January 17, the Zoning Commission will be taking up a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
request from Monument Realty
for "One M Street," an approximately 328,000-square-foot office building planned for the southeast corner of South Capitol and M streets, SE
, on what old-timers know as the old Domino's site, just to the north of the self-storage building.
The building, which is referred to in the zoning submittals as a speculative development, would have a large lobby entrance at the corner of South Capitol and M and somewhere between 9,000 and 17,260 square feet of ground-floor retail, plus four floors of underground parking with 310 spaces. It would be 12 stories high along M Street, but as seen in the above rendering grabbed from the documents, the height along South Capitol would be lower, because of the "different characters" of the two streets. You can see another rendering of the building, as seen from M Street at Van, here
This has also been referred to the National Capital Planning Commission for review, and ANC 6D will of course be getting a crack at it as well. There's no estimated timeline mentioned in the zoning documents. (But we know how I feel about "estimated" start dates these days anyway. Show me a shovel in the ground!)
Monument has owned the Domino's parcel on the corner since 2005, and added the L-shaped parcel to its east and south in 2008 as part of its settlement with WMATA over not getting the Southeastern Bus Garage site
just to the east. Monument, as most people know, built quite a portfolio of land in the blocks just to the north of Nationals Park
in 2004 and 2005, having completed 55 M Street
in 2009 and still controlling the rest of the land on the east side of Half Street, along with the old Sunoco site on the northeast corner of Half and M
and the old BP/Amoco site on the northeast corner of South Capitol and N
Plans Submitted for a 1st Street Hotel, With Interesting Details
Sep 16, 2012 1:35 PM
Late last week, "Capital Riverfront Hotel LLC" * submitted to the Zoning Commission plans for a 167ish-room hotel on the small L-shaped lot that the Welch family has owned for a number of years at 1st and N Streets just north
of Nationals Park
According to documents submitted as part of the required Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
, the development would have no ground-floor retail along either 1st or N.
Also, the developers are requesting that they be able to provide zero below-ground or on-site parking instead of the 44 spaces that would be required by current zoning regulations, saying that the hotel would provide valet parking services, and also would emphasize the building's location near Metro, Circulator, and other transit options.
(Needless to say, it would be interesting to see exactly how valet service on 1st just north of N would work during a sold-out baseball game going on a few feet to the south, given how 1st fills up with traffic heading toward the parking lots at the Yards.)
As seen in the above rendering, the site for the proposed hotel wraps around the two-story retail building that has been proposed as part of its 660,000-square-foot Ballpark Square development
that I've written about over the past few months, which would have its own 170ish-unit hotel, positioned between a 224,000-square-foot office building fronting M Street and a 285ish-unit residential building toward the south end of the street, as well as the retail building, separated from the rest by the Welch lot.
Recently "Ballpark Square LLC and SCD Acquisitions LLC" (which appears to be a team headed by Grosvenor, with Skanska and McCaffery Interests also on board) submitted updated designs for that project in advance of its Oct. 1 zoning hearing, in which the residential building just to the north of the L-shaped lot has had its U-shaped design reconfigured to open to the south, giving residents in the courtyard-facing units some amount of a view toward Nats Park. Which of course would completely disappear if the hotel were to be built right up against the property line. (You can compare the white box in the top rendering to the red-brick building at the right of this rendering to place the proposed hotel's location vis-a-vis the residential building.)
The updated filing by Grosvenor et al even gives oblique reference to the goings-on, saying "As will be discussed at the hearing, the Applicant is exploring alternative residential layouts to address the potential future development of the parcel to the south of the residential component."
It does lead one to wonder what if anything might be going on behind the scenes between the two parties. And also exactly how the Zoning Commission might feel about the hotel's designs as initially submitted.
* Points immediately deducted for the wrong spelling of Capitol.
District Selling Density Rights Near Ballpark, Maybe for Square 701
Aug 19, 2012 6:48 AM
The Washington Business Journal reported on Friday
that the city has put 300,000 square feet of "combined lot development rights" that it controls near Nationals Park
up for bid, and that the likely target is the new Square 701 project
that would bring a combined office/hotel/residential/retail project to the block along 1st Street SE where Nats Parking Lot F currently resides.
A few months back I detailed the plans
for the site as described in zoning filings:
* a 224,500-square-foot office building at the corner of 1st and M;
* a 180-unit hotel just to the south of the office building, separated by a 30-foot-courtyard;
* a 292-unit residential project south of the hotel in two buildings, both parallel to 1st Street, with a courtyard between them and a glass bridge connecting them; and
* 43,000 square feet of retail, 36,000 sf of which will be in the office/hotel/residential buildings (called the "Main Parcel"), while the remaining 7,000 sf will be in a separate two-story retail-only building at the corner of 1st and N (on the "South Parcel"), with a design "inspired by the industrial character of the existing neighborhood."
The zoning hearing for this project--technically a Capitol Gateway Overlay District Review
--has now been scheduled for October 1
. (And hey, look at that, the hearing announcement mentions the applicant is also seeking approval "for the use of Combined Lot Development rights ['CLDs'].") The project will also likely come before ANC 6D at its September meeting. You can see some early renderings here
, though I understand there have been some changes to the design since these were filed with the Zoning Commission.
(Note that WBJ lists the likely CLDs buyer as Willco, the developers who controlled the block for many years, but that the zoning filings
on the project list Grosvenor
as the Owner/Developer and McCaffery Interests
as Development/Construction Management Services Consultants. Plus, "Ballpark Square LLC and SCD Acquisitions LLC" is described as the "contract purchaser"
of the 81,000-square-foot lot. But no deals have shown up in land records just yet.)
And, commiserations to DC United Fans who saw "Buzzard Point" in the initial reporting on this story and immediately began dreaming of the team's new stadium....
Capper Community Center's Second Time Extension Approved
Jul 12, 2012 11:06 AM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission voted 4-0-1 to approve DCHA's request
for a second two-year time extension on the PUD deadlines to build the Capper Community Center
on the now-empty lot on 5th Street SE between K and L. With this vote, building permits would need to be filed by July 1, 2014, with construction needing to be underway by July 1, 2015, provided another extension isn't someday requested and granted.
The extension received votes of support from both ANC 6B and ANC 6D, and a letter from a steering committee of Capper public housing residents also expressed support. Commissioner Peter May, referencing the "contentious" discussions in the past
regarding this project and his own unhappiness about seeing it delayed, said it was "reassuring to know that key members of the community are supportive," otherwise he would be "similiarly unhappy." But he did vote in favor of the extension, as did Chairman Anthony Hood and commissioners Marcie Cohen and Michael Turnbull. (The commission's fifth seat is currently empty, with vice chair Konrad Schlater's recent decampment for a new job in Chicago.)
Included the paperwork provided to the Zoning Commission is a letter from DC Housing Authority executive director Adrianne Todman
detailing the various high-finance moves over the past few years that have helped the overall Capper redevelopment
move forward but that haven't trickled down to fund the community center. The letter says that the Housing Authority anticipates a $55 million bond issuance within the next year that will pay off the previous $29 million Bond Anticipation Notes and provide enough proceeds to continue the infrastructure work around Capper "and to construct the community center, which we estimate will cost $7.6 million." These moves require legislation, so we'll be able to cast an eye toward the DC council this fall to see if things are progressing as anticipated.
Also in that letter is this tidbit: "Lastly, DCHA is working with and soliciting a potential anchor tenant that will operate the community center and also contribute funding for the construction of the community center." Very interesting....
ANC 6D Agenda: Parking Update, Capper PUD (and the Wharf)
Jun 8, 2012 10:10 AM
The agenda for the June 11 ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (and hopefully posted soon
). The big-ticket item is a vote on the Stage 2 PUD for the Southwest Waterfront plans, which I doubt will be a lightning-quick discussion--when the agenda has it budgeted for 90 minutes, you know it's gonna be long.
But there are also two Near Southeast items of interest listed: an update on baseball game-day parking from DDOT (first discussed at the May meeting
) and the Capper Community Center
PUD extension request (also discussed in May
I'm not yet up to sitting through a meeting of that length (though I'm coming along), so if these items are of interest, get thee to 1100 4th St. SW at 7 pm on Monday.
Renderings for the Proposed Square 701 Project by Nats Park
Jun 4, 2012 4:19 PM
Last week I wrote about the new mixed-use project just north of Nationals Park
that has begun its trek through the city's zoning review process. And now I have a few renderings, and some new pertinent details. First, the pretty stuff, since that's what most people want to see (click to enlarge):
Quoting myself, the lineup from right (M Street) to left (N Street) is:
* a 224,500-square-foot office building at the corner of 1st and M
* a 180-unit hotel just to the south of the office building, separated by a 30-foot-courtyard;
* a 292-unit residential project south of the hotel in two buildings, both parallel to 1st Street, with a courtyard between them and a glass bridge connecting them; and
* 43,000 square feet of retail, 36,000 sf of which will be in the office/hotel/residential buildings (called the "Main Parcel"), while the remaining 7,000 sf will be in a separate two-story retail-only building at the corner of 1st and N (on the "South Parcel"), with a design "inspired by the industrial character of the existing neighborhood."
Here's the view from the other direction, at 1st and N
, with the two-story retail building
that would be just across from the Nats' parking garage at left, with the two parallel residential buildings to its right, then the hotel, then the office building:
Having now seen more of the zoning filing, I can pass along that the "Owner/Developer" is listed as Grosvenor
, with Chicago-based McCaffery Interests
listed as "Development/Construction Management Services Consultants." I'm sure there will be some sussing out of the land deal before long. (Note: I had the wrong Grosvenor link for the first few minutes this post was up. I'm blaming it on being medicated.)
Details on New Mixed-Use Project Just North of Nationals Park
May 29, 2012 6:36 PM
Back in March I wrote that something was afoot
on the block just north
of Nationals Park
where Nats Parking Lot F resides, and new confirmation of that is a filing with the Zoning Commission for a review of a new mixed-use project that would bring office, hotel, residential, and retail spaces to 1st St. SE between M and N.
The applicant is listed only as "Ballpark Square LLC and SCD Acquisitions LLC," with a footnote mentioning that they are the "contract purchaser" of the 81,000-square-foot property, currently owned by a number of LLCs but generally described as controlled by Willco Companies
. My sources continue to tell me that the purchaser is McCaffery Interests
, the developer behind the Market Common
residential/retail project in Clarendon, Georgetown Centre
, the renovation of Mazza Gallerie
, the big Potomac Yard redevelopment
across the river, and other local developments, along with a number of big projects
in Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere.
The zoning filing lays out the design of the 1st Street project ("Ballpark Square", mayhaps?) as:
* a 224,500-square-foot office building at the corner of 1st and M;
* a 180-unit hotel just to the south of the office building, separated by a 30-foot-courtyard;
* a 292-unit residential project south of the hotel in two buildings, both parallel to 1st Street, with a courtyard between them and a glass bridge connecting them; and
* 43,000 square feet of retail, 36,000 sf of which will be in the office/hotel/residential buildings (called the "Main Parcel"), while the remaining 7,000 sf will be in a separate two-story retail-only building at the corner of 1st and N (on the "South Parcel"), with a design "inspired by the industrial character of the existing neighborhood."
(And there might be a juicy story behind the retail-only building, because apparently the Ballpark Square folks couldn't successfully acquire the 9,000 sq ft of lots owned by the Welch family in an L shape around the corner lots at 1st and N, necessitating the two separate parcels.)
The buildings will be 130 feet high, and there will be approximately 366 parking spaces, all beneath the main parcel (and there will be bike parking, too). The residential and hotel buildings are being designed by Hickok Cole
, and Gensler
is the architect for the office building.
The zoning filing describes the site as having "the opportunity to become a linchpin for the entertainment district that the Distrct has long envisioned in the Ballpark area," and that it will "attract people who attend baseball games, but also provide the everyday amenities essential to the residents living in the project and nearby." And, "[p]erhaps most importantly, this project will convert a vacant site to vibrant and active uses that contribute to the rejuvenation of the Capitol Riverfront by complementing the epicenter of this community, the Ballpark."
In addition to needing a Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
for the plans, the developers are also needing some zoning relief, to be allowed to scrap four required parking spaces for the separate retail building on the south parcel along with variances for loading, rear yard, and open court requirements that I'm just not up to writing much about right now.
Goodies like renderings, elevations, and additional details (like a timeline!) will be coming (though the ANC commish tweeted a sneak peek
a few days ago), and this would be brought up before ANC 6D for its support before the Zoning Commission would vote on the review and variances.
This site is just to the east of Monument Realty's stalled Half Street project
, which has similar plans for hotel, residential, and retail to the south of its 55 M Street office building. And across from that is Akridge's Half Street
project, looking to bring office, residential, and retail to the west side of the street. In other words, there's a whole lot of mixed use on the boards just north of Nats Park. Who will get out of the blocks first?
Florida Rock Update at ANC 6D: Tweaked Designs, More Retail
May 16, 2012 7:56 AM
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, representatives of MRP Realty made a presentation showing the updates to the RiverFront on the Anacostia
project (aka Florida Rock) that they will be taking to the Zoning Commission later this year.
These designs are part of the quest to make changes to the original design approved by the commission in 2008
, chief of which is to switch the first phase of the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project from an office building to a 300ish-unit apartment building at 1st Street and Potomac Avenue, along with a series of other changes that I've written about previously
. (Dear heavens, don't make me write it all again.)
Here are the slides that were presented by the developers
, which should be of interest even without the accompanying narration. The renderings are much more detailed and "showier" than those given to the Zoning Commission back in February, which was part of what the developers were tasked with providing in their next go-round with the ZC.
Most obviously, the developers appear to have gotten the "more retail!" message that had been delivered pretty clearly at the last two
zoning commission sessions on the new design, with 18,650 square feet of retail now covering most of the first floor of the Phase I residential building, bumped up from 12,520 sf in the previous version (some of which the developers had been wanting to mark off for "temporary resident uses" until the market for retail in the area could be proven). The entire site is now designed to have 48,360 sf of retail, but this is still down from the 64,200 sf that was in the plans approved by the Zoning Commission back in 2008
. (This increase in retail also means that the "four red doors" facing Potomac Avenue that sent zoning commissioner Michael Turnbull through the roof back in February
are now gone.)
There was also much time spent on the designs for the public spaces that span the 5.5-acre site. With large lawns, wetlands-type areas that would actually be bio-filtration mechanisms, quieter tree-covered spaces, and a marina that could potentially have 40-50 slips, the additions could be seen as echoing the Yards Park
a couple blocks to the east.. But there are also some "beach" areas where sand would be placed, and a large sculpture could be included in the "Riverfront Plaza" at the foot of 1st Street. The esplanade is still a major part of the design, but there is no longer a separate bike path--pedestrians and cyclists would share the boardwalk as it runs through the entire site, from South Capitol Street to Diamond Teague Park
. And there may even be locations where some of the concrete blocks from the old concrete plant site would be incorporated into the public spaces.
I could write more about the specifics, but since the project will be back in front of ANC 6D looking for a resolution of support in July, and then at the Zoning Commission on Sept. 20, I'd prefer to save some words for the presentations to come.
I've added some of the renderings from this presentation
to my Florida Rock project page
. And, when looking at all of this, remember that the western two buildings (phases 3 and 4, an office building and a hotel), are not be able to be built until the new South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge
is built a bit to the south of the current bridge, which now runs directly through the Florida Rock footprint. And there's as yet no timeline for that new bridge.
Florida Rock Zoning Update - Revised Plans OKed for Set Down
Feb 15, 2012 10:46 AM
I wrote recently about the bumpy first trip back to the Zoning Commission for the new designs for the project known as Florida Rock
. The developers (MRP and FRP) want to build a residential building at 1st and Potomac instead of the originally planned office building, and also are looking for some tweaks to the plans originally approved in 2008
by the Zoning Commission for the rest of the six-acre site.
At that meeting on Jan. 30, reactions of the zoning commissioners ranged
from generally supportive of the changes to concerned about specific aspects of them to labeling the new filing "an affront." Because commission chair Anthony Hood was not in attendance, and because there were a few items that the commissioners wanted from the developers, the vote on whether to "set down" the case for a full hearing was deferred.
On Monday, Feb. 13, the full commission took up the case again. Despite the developers offering to increase the total amount of retail for the entire site by about 11,000 sq ft (up to 36,370 sq ft total), vice chair Konrad Schlater again felt the retail offerings to be lacking, describing the designs as having "no vision" and a "missed opportunity" for one of the city's few large-scale waterfront developments, adding that he doesn't get the sense that the design takes full advantage of the site and "how it can meet the waterfront."
Commissioner Michael Turnbull, who had unleashed the strongest broadsides last time around, said that he was "not going to go down the same road," but echoed Schlater's concerns about the lack of retail, especially the design of the east residential building that shows "four red doors" along Potomac Avenue, with no retail on that street despite being directly across from Nationals Park. "This is a destination, a prime piece of land that begs for a gripping design," Turnbull said, agreeing that there is a lack of vision for the entire site.
Commissioners Peter May and Marcie Cohen both said there are parts of the new design they prefer, with Cohen mentioning how the old design "had its back to the river," and that the new residential building opens up toward the Anacostia. But May also echoed the others by saying the idea that the project is "lacking in vision and missing an opportunity along Potomac Avenue is certainly right on."
Chairman Hood also expressed his concern that this is a prime site and that "we don't want a lost opportunity," but is happy that there is a new residential component in the revised design.
"Are we fully satisfied? No," Hood said, and while he feels the designs need "some refining and revisiting," he felt that "the applicant has heard us." With that, the commission then voted 4-1 to approve the motion to "set down" the case, with Turnbull voting against. Now the developers will work with the Office of Planning to come back to the Zoning Commission with detailed plans for the new Phase 1 residential building and general revisions to the rest of the project that they feel can get the commission's approval.
For more details on the latest design, read my two recent
posts, and also check out my Florida Rock page
for drawings from the initial filing in December that will now presumably be tweaked before the hearing, whenever that may be. The developers will also need to come before ANC 6D before the zoning hearing to get that commission's support (or not) before going to zoning.
Florida Rock Zoning, Take 356: Concerns About New Design
Feb 2, 2012 5:43 PM
On Monday night, the city's Zoning Commission had its first crack at the new request for modifications
to the existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the Florida Rock site
across the street from Nationals Park, as the commissioners deliberated on whether to "set down" the request for a hearing. As mentioned previously
, the developers want to change the site's first phase from office to residential, and also have done some reworking of the rest of the design for the six-acre site that the Zoning Commission approved after much deliberation and tweaking back in 2008
Commissioner Michael Turnbull was first out of the gate with comments about the new designs, and he was not at all happy, calling it a "major gut" to the original PUD, saying that he felt the applicant should start the PUD process all over again. Describing the new plans as "bastardized," "stick architecture from the suburbs," "boxy," "10 steps backward," and "an affront to the Zoning Commission" and city residents, Turnbull pledged to be "so damn critical" if the new design moves forward. (If you've got a few minutes, you can watch his remarks for yourself
Commissioner Peter May, on the other hand, said that he is actually more comfortable with the new design, given that there were features he "really questioned" in the 2008 design, but that the latest filing is "pretty simplistic" in terms of the drawings, and did say that the architecture is "kind of boring," especially from the waterside view. (The image at right is the Phase 1 residential building, as seen from the river.) He also wanted to see more comparisons to the previously approved design so that they could understand more what they may be giving up with the new design, but that he found the overall plan "more appealing than before."
Vice-chair Konrad Schlater's biggest concern was over the scaling back of the retail component, which has gone from 80,000 square feet of "retail and service uses" in the 2008 PUD to about 23,400 square feet in the new filing, with 7,000 sf of that being turned over to residential amenities "until a retail market is established." "It seems like a missed opportunity to have space on the boardwalk that is not retail," Schlater said, adding that the city does not have a lot of projects right on a waterfront like this, and that the entire development really should be a retail destination. (He also caught that, while the 2008 PUD called for LEED certification for each phase, the new filing says that the project "will be LEED certifiable for each phase." Semantics, or...?)
With commission chair Anthony Hood not in attendance, the four commissioners decided to defer a decision on the set-down request until Hood can weigh in with his thoughts; this would also give the developers time to file additional information, such as comparing the new designs with the 2008 plans. This could come up at the next public hearing, on Feb. 13.
So, what are
With the entire filing available online (if you search
), I was able to go through and cull out some of the most representative drawings from this new design
, which I've put on my Florida Rock project page. At the bottom of that page you can also see some images of the designs that were approved in 2008. The first image at left, from 2008 (click to enlarge), shows the four buildings and the public spaces with a lot of curves and glass and "articulation."
Compare that to the latest design. While this is clearly a very early drawing, it does show four much more boxy structures, as commissioner Turnbull said. You can also see the curves-versus-corners differences in the site-plan comparison graphic I created
, which also shows the differing layouts of the public spaces, again going from a lot of flowing, rounded paths and open areas to straighter-edged movements, with the total amount of "lot occupancy" going down to 44 percent in the new design from 58 percent in the old. The phase 1 apartment building is the most fleshed out in the renderings
, but there are additional drawings giving a general sense of the site layout.
The Office of Planning's setdown report
goes through the changes requested in a fair amount of detail.
It will be interesting to see how this the Zoning Commission handles this, as well as ANC 6D, which has always been very supportive of this project during its long gestation but has not yet had an opportunity to weigh in/vote on the new design. (And of course, we here at JDLand want to know what YOU think!) The developers are hoping to begin construction on the first phase apartment building in Spring 2013, but it would appear that this zoning process, like everything else tied to this project up to now, may not be as speedy as they might want.
Florida Rock Headed Back to Zoning Commission With Changes
Dec 9, 2011 2:29 PM
I almost can't bring myself to write the words, but the owners of the Florida Rock
site just south of Nationals Park have filed with the Zoning Commission for not only the previously reported plan
to change the planned first phase office building to a residential one, but also to revisit parts of the site plan for the three subsequent phases. (For those of you versed in zoning speak, they are requesting to "revert Phases II, III, and IV to First Stage Approvals with modifications.")
This is going to be a lengthy process, with hearings at the Zoning Commission, reports from the Office of Planning and others, and presentations to the ANC (starting with one this coming Monday night, Dec. 12). So I'm going to avoid getting into the weeds too much too early, and will just give some bullet points of what changes they are looking for. (You're free to read these 57 pages of the filing
for more detail.)
* The new Phase 1 building
, at the far east end of the site (next to Diamond Teague Park
) will now be the aforementioned residential building, a nine-story U-shaped design oriented toward the river with 300-350 units and 286 below-grade parking spaces. There will still be 12,500 square feet of retail, though they are asking that 7,000 of it be "flex space" that "may alternatively be dedicated to residential amenity space" until retail gets going. There will be a private courtyard within the "U", but there will also be the open space on the buildings' east side, now dubbed Anacostia Plaza, that will be open enough to maintain open views from First Street and the stadium's Grand Staircase to the river but will also provide "passive recreation space."
* The esplanade
that has always been such a big part of the site plan remains, acting as the portion of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail connecting South Capitol Street to Teague Park, the new pedestrian bridge, and the Yards Park
. The Esplanade will "relate" to the "design vernacular" of the newly constructed boardwalks, and will also have a lot of stormwater management and bio-filtration offerings.
* On the building's west side will be the "Mews
," which they call a pedestrian boulevard separating the Phase 1 building from the planned Phase 2 residential building. This path will also provide access to parking and loading for the first two phases, but "a dynamic paving design . . . will help distinguish this area as an urban space that privileges pedestrians over vehicles."
* The filing says they anticipate construction to begin in the second quarter of 2013, with first move-ins in early 2015 and the entire phase completed by summer 2015.
As for overall changes
, here's what seem to be the most interesting changes from the previously approved design that the developers are looking for:
* The new plan would bring 1,164,640 square feet of gross floor area (4.6 FAR), up from 1,115,400 sq ft/4.4 FAR in the last plan. The other three phases' uses would remain unchanged (residential, office, hotel).
* Building heights of 130 feet for Phase 2-4 are being requested, compared to 130/112/130 last time around.
* Below-grade parking spaces would go from 1,010 to 1,144.
Plus, though It's hard to tell from one small site plan concept drawing
, a lot of the public space design, especially to the east of the Phase 3 and 4 buildings, looks scaled back from the 2008 design. (UPDATE
: Here's a graphic put together from another part of the filing that compares the 2008 site plan with the current one
The filing also says that "the Applicant would like the flexibility to provide interim uses on Phases, II, III, IV so that the site will not simply lay dormant pending construction," and lists a park, a farmers market, or other "simple, temporary retail uses" as examples.
And, just as in the previous plans, development of phases 3 and 4 are completely dependent on the construction of a new South Capitol Street Bridge
, since the current bridge bisects the property where those buildings are planned.
Again, this is early in this new process, and there will be plenty of filings and presentations to come for all the additional detail you're going to be clamoring for. For now, the takeaway is that FRP/MRP want to get started on a residential building at 1st and Potomac in the spring of 2013, and still want to move forward on the rest of the site with a design similar to what was approved 3 1/2 years ago, but with some modifications.
This project first began its zoning quest in 1998
, and went through a four-year process ending in 2008
to get its second-stage approvals. I should also note that Davis Buckley Architects, who worked on the project throughout that 10-year ordeal, is no longer part of the design team; SK&I
is now on board, with Oculus
as the landscape design firm. The site's owners, FRP Development/Florida Rock Properties
, announced their partnership with MRP Realty earlier this year
(As for the concrete plant currently on site, I haven't looked lately, but demolition is underway, and the filing says it should be done by the end of the year. Tom Boswell's heart will be broken.)
Most Minor of Modifications to Yards' Teeter Building OKed by 6D
Nov 15, 2011 10:23 PM
On Monday night, ANC 6D gave its support to a series of minor modifications (very minor--did I mention they were minor?) to the previously approved design
of the new residential/retail/grocery development
planned for the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE.
Because the lease with Harris Teeter has been executed since the project's zoning approvals were received, Forest City needs an okay for the company's signage, which you can see in the updated rendering
. An outdoor seating area on 4th Street has also been added, and the design of the residential building's vestibule on 4th has been altered in order to use "structural glass." There were also slight changes to the roof structure, the sunscreens on the residential windows, the design of the trellises shielding the parking deck, and other items that should probably just be read about in the Office of Planning report
that supports the proposed changes. (If you want the real nitty gritty of the updated design for this block, you can look through the full submittal to the Office of Zoning
Alex Nyhan of Forest City told 6D that he expects excavation on the site to start in about a month, with superstructure work beginning in the spring. This would bring the opening date to late 2013 or early 2014. (The entire block, consisting of the 55,000-square-foot Teeter, 218 apartments, and the as-yet-unnamed health club and other retail spaces at the south end of the site, is being built at the same time.)
There weren't many questions from commissioners. David Garber, who said that this was the first project reviewed by his new 11-member Near Southeast Citizen Development Advisory Committee, did question the project's representatives about the plans for bike parking. (Shocker!) Nyhan said there would be racks on 4th Street, and that they would be working with Harris Teeter to allow bikers to bring their bikes into the store and take them down to the parking level via elevator, but that no biking would be allowed into the parking garage. There was also discussion of whether the entrance to the garage could be expanded to allow for bike racks at street level, but Nyhan said there is not enough room in the design to widen the entrance.
The ANC then voted unanimously to support the project. It will be taken up by the Zoning Commission at its Nov. 28 meeting, having been removed from the Monday night agenda so that the ANC could be allowed to weigh in before the ZC voted.
Teeter/Residential Building at the Yards on 6D November Agenda
Nov 10, 2011 5:08 PM
While you're spending your weekend trying not to head toward the Navy Yard Metro station by mistake
, you can take a moment or two to add Monday's ANC 6D meeting to your calendar. The agenda
doesn't seem to be getting updated online these days, but an e-mailed version shows that the only Near Southeast item to be discussed will be the Harris Teeter/residential building
in the Yards
, on 4th Street south of M. There are few minor modifications to the design approved by the Zoning Commission nearly a year ago
that need new approvals (including an "upgraded" design for the entrance to the residential building), and so those are what will be presented to the ANC.
There was a bit of a flurry on Thursday morning when a tweet
from a local business symposium indicated the work would begin on this project "next week." However, I checked with Forest City, and there's still a building permit that hasn't yet been approved, so while they hope to start construction reallyreallyreally soon, "next week" might be a bit optimistic.
If you're just joining us, this project originally was planned to be an office building on top of the Harris Teeter, but will now instead be two long and narrow apartment buildings with a total of 200ish-units, with their entrance at 1212 4th St. SE. The Teeter will be 55,000 square feet and will have its main entrance near M Street. While the executive architect for the entire project is Shalom Baranes
, the interior designer for the apartments is Core Architects
out of Toronto, and you can see a few renderings
on their site as being for "The Yards" (looks like a lobby or community room space, maybe?) , along with their many other projects.
On the south end of the block, at 4th and Tingey, there will be a four-story building with another 55,000 square feet of retail space, with what's expected to be a spa/fitness center/gym tenant on the top two floors and retail on the bottom two (seen at above left). There will also be a new narrow service road running south from M between this new development and Building 202 for loading zone access. Access to residential parking will be from Tingey, and the grocery and retail parking entrance will be on 4th, next to the residential lobby entrance. The retail spaces are being designed by Kenneth Park Architects
You can check out my Yards 401 M/Parcel D page
for more information, photos, and renderings. (Plus, in case you're wondering, this building site is just across 4th Street from the Boilermaker Shops retail space
, about a block to the northeast of the Foundry Lofts
, and a block from the Yards Park
The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday Nov. 14 at 7 pm at 1100 4th St., SW (the Safeway building), in the 2nd Floor DCRA meeting room.
Raze Permit for Concrete Plant on Florida Rock Site Approved
Oct 6, 2011 10:11 AM
The DC approved building permits feed
, now back online (thank you!), brings the news today that the raze permit filed in February for the concrete plant on the Florida Rock site
across from Nationals Park
has now been approved. With the move of the operations
around the corner down South Capitol Street to Buzzard Point finished, demolition should be able to get underway fairly soon. (Though whether it actually WILL....)
As we found out a few months ago
, site owner Florida Rock Properties has entered into a joint venture with MidAtlantic Realty Partners to move forward on the first phase of the 1.1-million-square-foot "RiverFront on the Anacostia
" redevelopment of the site, which they are hoping will be a 200-unit apartment building on the eastern edge of the site (across from the Nationals Park grand staircase at First and Potomac, next to Diamond Teague Park
) instead of the office building originally planned
. The Zoning Commission will need to approve this change, and that process should be beginning soon. Apparently there will be a presentation on the new plans at the Oct. 17 ANC 6D meeting (though the agenda isn't out yet). Their hope is to begin construction in the spring of 2013.
DCHA Files for Time Extension on Two Capper Apartment Projects
Sep 7, 2011 3:06 PM
The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for a time extension to construct the mixed-income apartment buildings
it has planned for the north half of Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors block along L Street between 5th and 7th, seen at right) and the north half of Square 769, between 2nd and 3rd on L just east of Canal Park (below, the building at left, next to the proposed 250 M Street
When the plans for these two buildings were approved by the Zoning Commission in 2009
(see the zoning order
), it was required that building permits be applied for by August of this year, with construction to begin by August of 2012. However, attempts at funding either the Square 882 189-unit building or 171-unit Square 769N building the have not thus far borne any fruit, and so a time extension is needed. Between them, the buildings would have 72 units reserved for households making less than 60 percent of the area median income, and the Square 769 building would also have just over 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The Zoning Commission will hear this request at its meeting on Monday night
; because there is no request to modify any portion of the PUD beyond the time requirement, this will most likely be handled as a consent calendar item. There will also be a presentation on this request and the state of the Capper redevelopment in general at Monday's ANC 6D meeting. (There was also one given at Tuesday night's ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, but I had a baseball game
to watch.) But since the Zoning Commission hearing is at the same time as the 6D meeting, it would seem that there is no anticipated opposition from 6D.
The Office of Planning prepared a short report recommending approval
of the time extension, showing that the requirements for an extension have been met. It also quotes the development team as saying that there have been 75 outreach efforts for financing, all unsuccessful. "The inability to secure financing for residential projects, especially those including affordable units, is not unusual in the current marketplace."
If you want to know more about these two planned apartment projects, and the other three mixed-income buildings planned along the east side of Canal Park and on the DPW/trash transfer site, my Capper Apartments page
has additional background, as do the scads of blog posts
I've written on the various plans. And my main Capper page
has the background on the entire redevelopment project.
Zoning Commission Approves Office Space in Yards Lumber Shed
Jul 7, 2011 7:33 PM
In a wonderfully short hearing on Thursday night, the Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to approve Forest City Washington's request
for an amendment to the current Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay
to allow the company to temporarily move its offices to the second floor of the historic Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park
The company made the request because, while there has been "great interest" from potential retail tenants for the first floor of the building, the second floor has not as yet been as enticing, and filling the ground-floor spaces alone is not enough to get construction financing secured. Because Forest City is "anxious" to get the building started, their move to occupy the second floor can settle the financing issues and finalize deals with interested tenants, which means that construction on the 34,000-square-foot building could begin this year and be open by early 2013.
There had been some concerns at the setdown hearing back in April
about the "temporary" request being for a period of 20 years, but Forest City's representatives emphasized (as they also did to the ANC
in April) that their intent is to be in the Lumber Shed only until there is office space elsewhere in the Yards to which they can move. Alex Nyhan of Forest City explained that getting retail uses into the second floor is currently "challenging" because the building is "by itself" at the Yards (without much built out around it), which is exacerbated by the fact that it's a somewhat seasonal destination. But Forest City feels that once the other projects in the first phases of the Yards are built out, there will be a demand for the second floor, plus "the onus is on us" to make the Yards into a location where second-floor retail not only at the Lumber Shed but in other
Yards buildings is attractive to tenants.
The discussion seemed to satisfy the zoning commissioners, and with the Office of Planning in support
of the change and no voices in opposition, the unanimous vote came quickly.
Nyhan also gave the commission a quick update on the status of the other first-phase Yards projects, to help illustrate that "after many years of planning" things are starting to move:
* The Foundry Lofts
170-unit apartment building will begin pre-leasing in August
, and will open in October;
* The Boilermaker Shops
retail space has announced five restaurant tenants
, and will begin construction this month, opening in Fall 2012;
Zoning Approvals Given for Temporary Capitol Hill Day School
May 17, 2011 4:25 PM
On Tuesday morning the Board of Zoning Adjustment
voted to approve three exceptions and variances that will allow the Capitol Hill Day School
to use the currently empty lot at 5th and K streets SE as a temporary location for its operations while its Dent School building at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovations.
This move, which has the support of ANC 6D
and the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, would bring a "modular building" to the site this summer, with the school's expectation that it will return to the Dent building in early 2012.
There will be no on-site parking, but the school is leasing 29 parking spaces in the big parking lot one block to the east, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building
(Nats lot "W"). And the Office of Planning report
on the application says that DDOT has "agreed to prohibit parking between mid-June 2011 and the end of January 2012 on school days between 7 am and 6 pm on the east side of the block [...] in order to facilitate the drop off and pick up of students." (I'll note that this 7 am start time is one hour earlier than what was announced at the ANC 6D meeting
where this plan was discussed.) CHDS representatives also told 6D at that meeting that they will be asking parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where students are then guided out of the cars. (Buses will pull in and out of these spots as well.) The spaces will be available for parking after 6 pm and on weekends and holidays.
There were few questions from the board; Commissioner May did ask whether this plan will negatively impact the long-delayed plans for the new community center
to be built on the site. The current requirements placed on the community center project
by the Zoning Commission as part of the Capper PUD are that the Housing Authority must apply for a building permit by July 1, 2012, and that construction must begin no later than June 30, 2013, dates which are far enough in the future to not be delayed by the Day School's occupation of the site.
The commission then voted to approve the requested relief; but, after a representative from the city's office of the attorney general raised some concerns, the hearing then devolved into a long technical and legal discussion of defining which conditions of a previous order were being addressed, which I totally admit to bailing out of. But in the end the project was still approved. You can watch the video of the hearing
when it's posted if you want more information; and the Office of Planning report
is also a very good resource for the zoning issues, plus there's a drawing on page 3 that shows how the temporary building will occupy the lot.
HPRB Staff Recommends No Landmark Designation for Market Deli
Apr 22, 2011 12:04 PM
The staff recommendation
to the Historic Preservation Review Board on the application
for historic landmark status for the Market Deli
has just been posted, and the gist is right at the top: "After careful consideration, staff recommends that the Historic Preservation Review Board not designate the property at 1024 1st Street, SE (Square 740, Lot 802) nor that it forward the application to the National Register of Historic Places with a recommendation for listing."
Recognizing that the argument that as a "building type becomes scarcer in a neighborhood, it takes on the role of representing the whole class of similar buildings that has been lost" is not a "frivolous" one, the staff report nonetheless says that "to accept such an argument absolutely or uncritically would set an unacceptably low bar for significance and thus, designation." It goes on to discuss the history and historical context of the building, as well as the building type, not finding that the structure rises to the level of landmarking in any of the areas.
It then summarizes: "The Board has previously rejected nominations for properties that have been merely typical of their neighborhoods, taking the position that, by definition, these do not rise to the level of landmarks worthy of notoriety. In this case, the nomination and the resource itself do not demonstrate that they are sufficiently associated with historical periods or patterns of growth that have contributed significantly to the development of the District."
You can read my initial entry on the landmark nomination
for more background; it was championed by ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber, and supported by ANC 6D
, but sparked a pretty vociferous backlash from some neighbors, as can be seen in the comments on those entries. (I hope to have the Memorandum in Opposition prepared by some of these neighbors soon.)
The hearing by the board itself on the landmark designation takes place Thursday, April 28
, so this is not yet a done deal; this is merely the staff's recommendation. There will be plenty of people testifying on both sides, I imagine. (At least it's first up on the agenda
, at 10 am.)
(PS: I'm not sure that the staff document as posted is complete; I'm only seeing two pages, and it seems to not really "conclude." Will see if a revised version pops up.)
Here is the very detailed Memorandum in Opposition
submitted by a group of neighbors; unfortunately there's no credit line as to who submitted it, and the names of the undersigned aren't included.
ANC Recap No. 2: Lumber Shed Zoning Change Request OK'ed
Apr 12, 2011 2:31 PM
Although the Yards Park
has been open since September of last year, the historic Lumber Shed that sits just south of Water Street between 3rd and 4th is not yet in its final form. Second-phase plans
have always been for the shed to be turned into a glass-enclosed retail pavilion; however, as Forest City has been seeking tenants they have discovered that the vast majority of leasing interest has been for the first floor, not the second.
In order to get the building to the required percentage of leased space in order to get financing to start construction, Forest City is wanting to move their offices to the second floor of the shed, which requires a text amendment to the site's zoning
. It would be on an interim basis, for no more than 20 years, and would allow Forest City to move its offices elsewhere before the end of that 20 years, and would require a return to retail or restaurant uses on the second floor after they move out. If the Zoning Commission approves the change, Forest City says they are looking to start construction this year and open the building in 2012. As part of the process for this zoning change, Forest City prepared a series of renderings of the completed renovation, which they have been kind enough to pass along to me. (Click on them to see enlarged versions.)
When Forest City first came to ANC 6D with information about this zoning text amendment request in March, the commissioners had concerns on three areas: the design of the roof (and whether it would be "green"), whether there would be controls in place to prevent the office workers from marring the look and feel of the glass walls by hanging posters or papers on them or putting other clutter too close to the glass, and whether the nighttime lighting of the shed on both floors would be designed to create a desired "jewel box" look.
Forest City addressed these issues at Monday's meeting. A green roof was studied, they said, but ultimately it was decided that it couldn't be implemented in a fashion that would respect the historic profile of the roof and the building, and given that the building is surrounded by almost 100,000 square feet of "permeable" surface (i.e, the park), they felt that another 300 or 400 square feet was not a necessity. The color of the roof will be a charcoal gray. As for the "Post-Its on the Glass" issue, Forest City said that they will stipulate rules as to not hanging items on the glass and how far away other items should be. And the company also agreed to the "jewel box lighting" concept of both floors, provided that it's left up to Forest City to determine the appropriate lighting levels. The rendering at top right (see larger version
) shows the nighttime lighting of the building as envisioned.
In addition, David Garber suggested/requested that a sign or plaque of some sort be affixed to the building (but not on the glass!) to explain its historic significance, which Forest City also agreed to.
With questions answered, agreements reached, and plaques affixed, the ANC voted 6-0 to support the zoning change. No date for the hearing with the Zoning Commission has been set as of yet.
The Lumber Shed is not the only retail pavilion planned for the park's later phases--designs call for two additional buildings along Water Street on the empty lots to the east of the shed. You can see more information and renderings on my Yards Park page
(scroll down a ways if the link doesn't jump you down to the Second Phase section).
(Coming tomorrow, one more post on 6D's meeting, with a roundup of the other Near Southeast-related items on the agenda.)
ANC 6D Supports Temporary Capitol Hill Day School; Capper Update
Mar 15, 2011 10:25 AM
(There were a number of Near Southeast-related items on Monday night's ANC 6D agenda, so I'm going to break up the reports into a couple of posts. One or two more to come over the next day or so.)
Representatives of the Capitol Hill Day School
came to 6D to ask for the commission's support on a zoning case that would allow the school to erect "modular classrooms" on the empty community center lot at 5th and K
while their current location at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovation. As I wrote last week
, the school would occupy the lot starting in June, with the intent of returning to the Dent School building in January 2012. There were a few additional details given last night:
* CHDS has secured 29 spaces in the big parking lot at 7th and L for faculty.
* They will be requesting from DDOT that six of the street parking spaces (half the block) on the east side of 5th in front of the lot be changed to No Parking from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays, to act as a drop-off zone for parents and buses. They will ask parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where kids are guided quickly out of the cars. (You can see this in operation at 2nd and South Carolina.) Their school buses would also operate in those spots during the day. But the spaces would be available for resident parking after 6 pm, before 8 am, and on weekends, with a "minimal" number of nighttime events beyond a Back to School night.
* Headmaster Jason Gray said that the school wants to be "as minimally disruptive as we can, be good community members, and leave the site better than we left it." They'll be landscaping the site (and fencing it), and will clear the lot and clean it up once they move out.
* In return for using this DC Housing Authority lot, CHDS has agreed to fund three scholarships for public housing children to attend the school, though details on how the students will be picked are still being worked out.
The commission voted 6-1 to support the zoning request, with only Commissioner Roger Moffatt voting against. The BZA will hear the case on May 17. If you want to know more about the CHDS renovation project, you can check out their wiki
, and they are also keeping a blog on the construction project
There was also a general update on the progress of the overall Capper redevelopment
given by David Cortiella of DCHA. Some bullet points:
* Construction on the second phase of Capitol Quarter
is actually a bit ahead of schedule; Cortiella said the first move-ins are scheduled for July/August, but I've heard from EYA that it may be more like May/June.
* DCHA is in the process of building a new lot for DPW so that it can move out of the New Jersey & K site; Cortiella expects this to happen by August, at which time site remediation and demolition can begin, working toward the building of I Street through to New Jersey Avenue (along with all manner of infrastructure work). This would take about 18 months.
* The financing for the mixed-income apartment project on Square 882
(just south of the Marine barracks) has apparently proven difficult to secure, and is still being worked on, with Cortiella saying he "expects" it by the end of the year.
* The community center
's financing is dependent on whether a second bond can be floated to get the rest of the $55 million PILOT monies; the $29 million bond
sold in 2010 is paying for infrastructure work around Canal Park
and the DPW site, and by spring of next year it should be known whether this second bond will be happening.
* The entire project is still on track to eventually provide the 707 units of public housing that were on the site before redevelopment; about 337 have already been delivered.
National Community Church Finalizes Square 906 Footprint
Mar 2, 2011 7:59 AM
Last night the National Community Church
held its "All Church Celebration" at the Lincoln Theater, and, while I wasn't there for the "big announcement
," I do know that lead pastor Mark Batterson told the assembly that the last of their land acquisitions on Square 906 (bounded by Virginia, 7th, 8th, and L) have been finalized.
As I've been conjecturing, this includes the auto garage on the corner of 7th and Virginia
. But it also includes a contract for the two small apartment buildings at 716 and 718 L Street, just west of the alley. Batterson tells me that they are leasing back the garage to the current occupants until July so that they can find a new location.
Combined with the Miles Glass site that started it all
and the empty lot on 7th
, this now gives NCC (the folks behind the successful Ebenezers coffee house near Union Station) over 26,000 square feet of land on a somewhat T-shaped footprint
on which to build their combination coffee house/performance space/offices. As I've mentioned previously
, Batterson wrote on his blog in mid-February that they are now "full-steam ahead with designs" now that the footprint is finalized, and that he is "looking forward to initiating meetings with Historic Preservation, ANC, Riverfront Bid, Barracks Row Main Street, Office of Planning, etc." It wil be interesting to see if the zoning and height changes
that business owners are looking for along lower 8th get through, and whether NCC would be taking advantage of being able to build a bit higher as a result.
Of course, this isn't the only new activity on Square 906, since it's on the south end of the block where the beer garden at 8th and L
is supposed to be going in once the design gets through its historic preservation review
, a process NCC will have to undergo as well since the block is within the Capitol Hill Historic District. This Saints and Sinners stretch of 8th is definitely going be a focus of activity in 2011.
More Property Moves on Lower 8th; The Visioning?
Feb 10, 2011 3:25 PM
In my post about the Bier Garden plans
for the northeast corner of 8th and L, SE, I promised a couple of extra tidbits about Lower 8th Street. To wit:
* Rumors abound that the National Community Church
has acquired the auto repair garage at the corner of 7th and K/Virginia, SE
, but despite someone saying otherwise at Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting, I'm told that no deal has been completed as yet. But even that at least confirms my not-terribly-hard-to-guess suspicions that NCC would be eyeing that lot for their new coffeehouse/performance space/offices, since they now own the land to both the east
of the site. The garage's lot is 5,300 square feet, and was assessed in 2010 for just under $1.5 million.
* Madison Marquette
, the developer who owns the Blue Castle at 770 M St., SE
and is also now a partner in the redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront, is entering into a joint venture with the ICP Group, owner of the gray building (with Quizno's) at 8th and Potomac and other Square 929 properties
that have been suffering from extended financing troubles. WBJ reported on this in late January
, noting that those familiar with the deal "say Madison and its 'fairly deep pockets' will take over as lead developer for all the parcels." This also presumably gives Madison access to ICP's properties on Square 929, just across 8th Street from the NCC/Bier Garden block and to the north of the Quizno's block.
Squares 929 and 930 have been the subject of a lot of discussion as one of the sites that the Marines might be looking at as a location for their new barracks
, because a development team could submit a proposal for a public/private partnership on that site if they controlled all properties on those two blocks. (This assumes the Marines do decide to go the public/private route; they could instead build additional barracks space on their existing land at 7th and L or manage to acquire some other government-owned site, such as the old Capper Seniors/Square 882
site, which is owned by DCHA but which seems to be stalled in its attempts to get funding for the mixed-income apartment project on the north side of the block.) There's also the Navy's potential plans
to expand outside their walls, which could include some of the close-by lots along 8th or maybe the old Exxon site at 11th and M.
In fact, in an e-mail to me last month, ICP President Leon Kafele referenced these possibilities by saying that the joint venture with Madison Marquette will "position [ICP's] assets to better respond to the Marines Corps and Navy Yard supply and demand for a BEQ, retail, and office space on or around lower 8th Street Barracks Row." And Madison has mentioned in public meetings that the Blue Castle could become home to some of the "shared uses" that the Marines are hoping to have be part of any new barracks venture.
So, with NCC and the Bier Garden making moves on Square 906, Madison Marquette increasing its presence by making deals on Squares 929 and 930, and the Navy and Marines in the mix as well, does this mean that Lower 8th is starting to perk up? And, how will any new projects tie in with the Lower 8th Street Vision Report
developed by the Capitol Riverfront BID along with all manner of representatives of Barracks Row, the Navy and Marines, business owners, and local residents?
I haven't written much about the whole vision thing, especially once the discussion of the Marines' land needs began to focus south of the freeway and it became clear that until they decide what they're doing about their barracks, any real discussion of what Lower 8th may look like in the future is very much up in the air.
That said, the vision report has mostly general recommendations that aren't exactly controversial: "Encourage a Mix of Uses," "Historic Preservation is a Must," improve the underpass to encourage pedestrians to come down from north of the freeway, address parking/circulation issues, and others.
But there is one concrete suggestion in the report: increasing height and density limits on some of these squares. The current 45-foot limit on 8th would be maintained for new structures, but greater heights (65 to 85 feet) could then allowed 20 to 30 feet behind existing historic 8th Street structures.
You can see on page 17 of the report
some drawings of what the Bier Garden corner at 8th and L would look like with a 45-foot building on the site, and there are other drawings depicting height changes on the following pages, including allowing the less-historic western side of the Blue Castle to be built up higher.
The Bier Garden's one-story-plus-roof-deck design
would seem to be not exactly what the visioners envisioned, but the developer has said he anticipates it to be a temporary structure (though that's not a guarantee). There's been no public opposition to the Bier Garden from the BID or Barracks Row Main Street--but no letters of support, either.
It will be interesting to see what the National Community Church comes up with for their design, and whether it'll try to take advantage of the desire for larger building heights set out in the vision document, if that idea ends up being embraced by the city.
And, there's still the Marines' decision to look for, which could be the biggest driver of all for redefining Lower 8th.
401 M Street Project at the Yards Switching to Residential, Could Deliver a Grocery Store in 2013
Sep 9, 2010 10:59 PM
One of the top three questions that gets asked here at JDLand is "When is a grocery store coming to the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards
area?" (Well, maybe it doesn't get asked quite like that.) For a number of years there's been a planned grocery space on the southeast corner of 4th and M
, as part of the first phase of development at the Yards
; but thanks to the Economic Difficulties there hasn't been any recent indication of when (or if) that building might get underway.
However, it seems that the wheels are finally beginning to turn, and Forest City is now starting the process of shepherding a revised design for the site (known as "Parcel D
") through the city's planning processes. And it appears that a full-service grocery store could be arriving in the neighborhood by late 2013 or early 2014. While that's not exactly right around the corner, those dates would seem to be an improvement over "someday, we hope."
These new designs replace the original plans for one office and one residential building with a single 220ish-unit apartment building
, with 20 percent of the units earmarked as affordable housing. The 50,000 square feet of ground-floor grocery store space
would still be at the north end of the block (near the red brick wall and turret), plus there would be additional retail space that would include a three-story fitness and spa facility
. (And note that this is new construction, on a currently empty lot--the large red brick Gun Mount Shop just to the east of Parcel D is a separate project known as "Factory 202
", designed as condos in the original plans.)
Forest City is hoping that construction could possibly start in early 2012, with a delivery in late 2013 or thereabouts. (But, repeat after me: dates like this are not written in stone.)
No names are officially attached to either big retail space at this time. However, WBJ reported a year ago
that Harris Teeter
has signed a letter of intent for the grocery store space, and, gosh, Vida Fitness
sure is hanging around in the neighborhood a lot these days! Plus Vida said a few months ago
that they have plans to open a branch in the Navy Yard area in 2013.
These new designs will apparently be presented to ANC 6D on Monday (a meeting which I, alas, will be missing), plus they are on the agenda
for Thursday's Commission of Fine Arts meeting. They should also be going to the Zoning Commission at some point, so more details should become available as the process goes along.
I hope to have renderings of the new design soon, and will update this post when I get them. In the meantime, you'll have to settle for some renderings on my project page
of the old original designs for 401 M and 400 Tingey from back in 2007.
Renderings have now been added to my 401 M/Parcel D page
. A little taste of Southwest DC in the apartment building design, isn't there? The fitness/spa facility at Fourth and Tingey is much more modern (and I believe it will have space for some additional retail as well).
Zoning Commission Allows Community Center Delay
Jul 13, 2010 3:11 PM
At Monday night's Zoning Commission meeting, the commissioners voted 3-0 after a brief discussion to approve a request by the DC Housing Authority and the Capper/Carrollsburg
redevelopers to extend (again) the approved timeline for the long-planned Community Center
at Fifth and K. The commissioners saw letters of support from both ANC 6B and 6D (you can see 6D's letter here
), and seemed appeased by the notion that the $7-plus million required to build the center is figured into the $25 million that DCHA plans to eventually receive from a second bond offering (after the $29 million one late last year
that's paying for infrastructure improvements), once the market improves.
In return for 6D's support for the time extension, the Housing Authority agreed to a number of conditions
, mainly having to do with status reports and project updates, but also agreed (according to the letter) to "work with the ANC, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Marine Corps to implement the agreement governing use of the Marine Corps' playing fields for the community." This is apparently a reaction to attempts to gain wider public access than is currently given to the fields at 7th and Virginia barracks
as was originally agreed to when DCHA transferred that land to the Marines back in 1999.
The new time extension for the community center calls for building permit applications to be filed by July 1, 2012, with construction having to begin within 12 months of that date.
Brief Break from Blogging Breather for Bullet Points
Jul 9, 2010 2:36 PM
I'm still eyeing a couple more days of (mostly) blog-free living, but a few items should probably be mentioned before the weekend, and so that you don't think I'm never coming back. First, the calendar:
* On Monday at 6:30 pm, the Zoning Commission will take up the Housing Authority's new request for another time extension to the zoning order
that requires construction of the Capper Community Center
. DCHA had asked for a two-year extension last year, but was only granted one year
, and made clear at that time that they didn't foresee having the money to start the center in that shorter time frame, and that they'd be back to ask for another extension. And now they are.
* Speaking of the community center, there's now a big sign on its footprint (at Fifth and L) touting that the second phase of Capitol Quarter
's townhouses is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But you knew that already
* Monday at 7 pm is the monthly ANC 6D meeting. I was hoping the agenda would be out before I posted this, but alas, no. Check back here or on their web site
to see what scintillating topics will be up for discussion. (UPDATE:
the agenda is now out
, and there's nothing really major on it, other than a public space permit for the street work for Phase 2 of Capitol Quarter.)
* On Tuesday, July 13, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry is having its "All-Star Party Night
" at Nationals Park
, offering the chance to take batting practice, throw pitches in the bullpen, tour the locker room, meet Teddy, and more. Tickets are $55 per person and $15 for children under 12, with proceeds going to CHGM's programs for homeless and low-income families.
And a few other items:
* Today's WBJ reports
that a third piece of "public" art is coming to Nationals Park
; this time it will be 30 "stainless steel-domed forms which will accurately follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast-ball pitch," which will be hung early next year on the exterior of the eastern garage. The steel spheres with cutout "laces," each seven feet in diameter, will feature programmable LED lights; the piece will cost about $950,000. As for the other two pieces of public art already at the stadium (the bronze statues in the Center Field Plaza and the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mobile near the First Base Gate), I'll quote WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The first two pieces of public art at the stadium were, to be kind, not well-received at their unveiling in April 2009. The works were selected by arts professionals and D.C. residents, according to the arts commission, but some wonder: Did anyone ask the fans?"
* A reader reports that the Anacostia Boathouse
at 11th and O, in between the 11th Street Bridges
spans, has been demolished, which was expected because of the footprint of the new bridges. Haven't seen for myself yet to confirm.
* And I haven't felt the earth shift on its axis yet, so I assume the Little Red Building's
exterior is still standing, although interior demolition has been going on all week.
11th Street Bridges
, ANC News
, Boathouse Row
, Capitol Quarter
, Community Center
, Little Red Bldg/Lot 38 Espresso
, Nationals Park
Agenda for June 14 ANC 6D Meeting
Jun 11, 2010 3:21 PM
The agenda is now posted
for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, and it does have a few Near Southeast-related items on it. So it follows logically that I'm not going to be able to be there.
Items include: A report from the housing authority on a request for a zoning time extension for the planned (and long-delayed) community center
at Fifth and K streets, SE; an update on the upcoming second phase
of Capitol Quarter
(which EYA tells me resulted in 11 reservations in the first 15 days); an update on the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan
, presumably coming out of the two recent public meetings
; and reports/possible votes on Justin's Cafe's proposed sidewalk cafe and the proposed "Harry's" liquor store at New Jersey and I, both of which you can get more detail on from my report on last week's ABC subcommittee meeting
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at Sixth and M streets, SW--they're trying to get moved to their space in the new Waterfront buildings, but it still hasn't happened.
I'm going to try to find out more about the community center
request, though I imagine there isn't much more to it other than DCHA says it doesn't still have the money to build it yet and so can't meet the deadline that was set in the zoning PUD
(planned unit development) for Capper. The time frame for the community center has already been extended once
, and in fact DCHA told the Zoning Commission last year that they fully expected that new deadline of filing building permits by Jan. 1, 2011, would be too short and that they'd be back to request another extension. Which appears to be what's transpiring.
909 New Jersey
, ANC News
, Capitol Quarter
, Community Center
, Harry's Reserve
, Justins Cafe
, Traffic Issues
Housing Authority Officially Requests Marines Stop Looking at Square 882 for New Barracks
May 28, 2010 12:58 AM
I've been chroncling
over the past few months the Marine Corps' search
for a spot for a new barracks, which has focused on a number of sites in Near Southeast, including the block bounded by Fifth, Seventh, L and M just south of their newest barracks that used to be home to the old Capper Seniors apartment building. It's been clear in public meetings and various other rumblings that both city planning officials and the DC Housing Authority are very much against
the Marines using this site, with plans having been in place
for a number of years for this now-empty/parking-lot block
to become home to both a 600,000-square-foot office building and a 189-unit mixed-income apartment building (shown above) as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment
Clearly feeling that the Marines haven't given up on the site as an option despite these plans, DCHA has now sent the Marines a letter
officially requesting that the Corps "not continue to propose redevelopment options on the DCHA-owned Square 882 as a future site for its facility needs." The letter explains that DCHA has already secured funds to improve the infrastructure around the square, has spent "substantial predevelopment funds" on design and engineering drawings, and is anticipating beginning work on the residential portion of the site in October. (There's currently no timetable for the office portion.) Further, DCHA says it "recently received an invitation from HUD to submit an application for a FHA loan guarantee to support the planned residential construction on the site," and that this construction is expected to start "this winter."
Nothing in the letter is necessarily a surprise--I've written fairly extensively about DCHA's plans
and about the zoning travails they went through before getting a second-stage PUD approval
for Square 882 last year, which even included many discussions and agreements
with both the Marines and the Navy about security requirements for the new buildings on this block. But clearly DCHA is hoping to be completely removed from the Marines' list of potential sites in the same way that the DC Public Schools (and parents) got Tyler Elementary removed from consideration. But it's also clear from the public workshops that the Marines very much like what Square 882 has to offer them in terms of space and proximity to the other USMC operations in the area.
The Marines are hoping to make a decision on a site by September. You can see all the sites under consideration
and the various options on the "Community Integrated Master Plan" web site.
Another Waterfront Project on the Boards
May 6, 2010 11:49 AM
Thanks to one of the National Capital Planning Commission's fabulous documents
, we're starting to get first hints of plans by the Cohen Companies
for what they are describing as a three-building, 815,000-square-foot office, hotel, retail project on the very eastern end of M Street, nestled between Boathouse Row
and the CSX tracks east of Maritime Plaza
. It's so early in the process that it's not even on Cohen's New Projects page
, but City Paper's Housing Complex blog has learned
that the company will be putting together a planned unit development application to the Zoning Commission "over the next six to nine months." (No financing is lined up, though, so don't look for digging to start anytime soon.) See the NCPC document for some early drawings
and some basic information on how they envision the offerings of the three buildings.
(Cohen Companies, by the way, is the developer of Velocity
Back in 2003-ish, there were plans for this site to be a townhouse development (see page 15
), but those never got off the ground partly because of zoning issues
, which then begat an attempted rezoning of the area in 2004
that failed. But rezoning of the site will have to be back in the forefront when this project's PUD application hits the zoning committee, since the space is still zoned "M" (industrial).
The project is in front of NCPC because of Cohen's request to close "paper street" segments of Virginia Avenue, M, and 14th streets. This is a part of a settlement between 1333 M Street, SE, LLC and the city from a lawsuit over waterfront development in South*west*, where the Cohen Companies are agreeing to release their claims in exchange for three small pieces of government land at 1333 M SE as well as the city's support in requesting the street closures. (The street closures themselves have been approved by the city council as bill B18-0572
, and are expected to become law later this month.)
The NCPC is objecting to the street closures; and thankfully Greater Greater Washington has been writing in detail on the case, so I'm just going to throw it over to them
for all the nitty gritty, because it's way out of my league. (Read also this GGW entry
about connecting this area to the neighborhoods to its north if/when the remnants of the freeway to Barney Circle are removed.) But, again, the NCPC staff recommendation report
is also a great read for not only the NCPC's concerns but also for the history of the area under review and other details. The NCPC board is meeting this afternoon, and we'll see what comes out of the session (I assume GGW will be hot on the trail).
If you've never ventured down that way, my East M page
has a few not-particularly-current photos of the location (I don't get there very often myself), along with more images of Boathouse Row
. When the project begins to wind its way through the zoning process, I'll get more on the ball. The city's 2009 Boathouse Row Planning Study
is also a good spot to learn more about the area.
Thanks to commenter Evan, I'm reminded that I should have included the additional information that, because this is part of the old Washington Gas (and I think Steuart Petroleum) site, there are some serious remediation issues to be addressed, which are mentioned both by Ron Cohen on page 25 of this 2003 ZC transcript
and on page 19 of this 2004 ZC transcript
(saying that the contaminated soil is 11 feet down). Remediation is also mentioned in the 2009 Boathouse Row Planning Study
and in this EPA document
(under "Washington Gas and Light"). Oh, and the EPA's 1999 record of decision
on what cleanup remedies would be needed. It should be noted that both Maritime Plaza buildings were completed after this document. (This is all before my time, so I'm researching on the fly.)
Here's a WBJ article
(subscribers only for 7 days) on the NCPC angle; it also reminds that, outside the monumental core of the city, NCPC's rulings are purely advisory.
Ribbon Cutting Officially Opens Diamond Teague Park
Apr 27, 2010 9:00 PM
This morning Mayor Fenty officially opened Diamond Teague Park
, cutting the ribbon alongside the parents of the park's namesake, the Earth Conservation Corps volunteer who was murdered in October 2003. The piers at the park, located just across the street from the baseball stadium
, have been operating sporadically since last September, and now host both a water taxi service
to and from Alexandria for baseball games and a river cruise company
that began service earlier this month. Another outfit is hoping to launch a separate water taxi service
The park includes two piers, a 250-foot commercial pier and a 200-foot pier for non-motorized vessels, like kayaks and canoes, as well as sustainable elements like floating wetlands and shoreline plantings. A portion of the $8 million cost of the park ($800,000) was paid by Florida Rock
next door as part of its zoning agreements for its new development, and funding has also come from the USDOT HQ Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) fund
. (Someday the area next to Teague on the Florida Rock site will be a large public plaza that will in effect expand the size of the park considerably. And eventually there is supposed to be a floating bridge connecting Teague's boardwalk with the Park at the Yards
, though there's no timeline on that.)
Casa Degli Angeli Denied Zoning Change
Nov 19, 2009 5:14 PM
The long-vacant apartment building on the northwest corner of Third and L that was resurrected earlier this year as "Casa degli Angeli
," a nautical-themed short-term rental operation, lost its bid last week to become a bed and breakfast, when the Board of Zoning Adjustment was forced to deny the operator's request for a variance. As spelled out in the Office of Planning's report on the case
, the Casa would not be meeting the standards for an "accessory use" because the building's owner would not be living there, plus the plan to rent out seven bedrooms (making it more of an inn than a B&B), would run counter to the intent of the zoning regulations that allow only limited non-residential uses in residential zones.
The four BZA board members were apologetic, clearly feeling that the idea to run the building as a B&B was at heart a good one, but that the city's regulations clearly precluded them from approving the request. (Here's the video of the hearing
; I used the nifty "TinyClip" option to link to just this portion of what was otherwise a very long hearing.)
Casa's propietor, "Captain Apollo," tells me that he intends to continue to run the building as a short-term 30-day rental building, and will still be attempting to turn it into a B&B at some point down the road.
Zoning Commission Okays Florida Rock Time Extension
Nov 16, 2009 12:33 PM
Catching up from last week.... On Monday (Nov. 9), the Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to approve Florida Rock Properties' request for a two-year time extension on the 2008 zoning order
for its RiverFront project
at First and Potomac, across from Nationals Park
. Citing the current Economic Difficulties, the developers requested the extension so that their deadline for securing building permits for the project's first phase (an office building on the east side of the site, near Diamond Teague Park
) is now mid-2012, with a construction start date deadline of mid-2013. My RiverFront page
gives all sorts of additional details on the project, if you need a refresher.
The Office of Planning supported the extension request (you can read their report for details
), and zoning commissioners Hood and Turnbull both called the project a "good effort," mentioning how much work by the developers, the architect (Davis Buckley) and the commission had gone into the zoning order. (Those of you who haven't been around quite so long may not be aware that Florida Rock first began its long and winding road through the DC zoning process in the late 1990s.) This extension was supported by ANC 6D
at its October meeting.
If you want to see the zoning hearing, you can go to the Office of Zoning's wonderful fabulous incredible Video on Demand section
, where not only can you pick the meeting you wish to see but can then use their index to skip to the portion of the meeting you're interested in. I may never watch an entire public meeting live ever again!
ANC 6D Doings (Short Version: Three Thumbs Up)
Oct 19, 2009 8:56 PM
While my dinner is in the oven, here's the speediest of reports from tonight's ANC 6D
* The ANC voted 7-0 on a resolution supporting the city council's proposed marriage equality act
* They voted 5-2 to support Florida Rock Properties' pending request in front of the Zoning Commission to extend the deadline for the first building permit application at RiverFront
two years, to June, 2012, which would push the deadline for the start of first-phase construction to 2013. (Read this entry
for more details, and see my project page
for specifics on the development itself.) It's expected that this will be taken up at the November 9th ZC public meeting.
David Briggs of Holland and Knight, representing FRP, said that while the developer has worked "assiduously and tenaciously" since last year to find either equity or construction funding, the notion of starting the first-phase office building within the current zoning timeline is "just not viable." FRP does say, though, that they will be continuing to search for funding if they receive the extension. In the meantime, FRP made its required $800,000 payment to the city last fall to help defray the costs of Diamond Teague Park
next door; I asked if there were any possibility that perhaps the land on the very east end of the Florida Rock site, which will eventually be a public plaza that abuts Teague Park, might be cleared and opened as public space before the construction begins on the office building--they're "looking at options."
* The commissioners also voted 7-0 to support the zoning special exception request by the operator of the six-unit "Casa degli Angeli
" at Third and L
, which is currently operating as a month-to-month room rental and which is looking for a zoning change to become a full-fledged bed and breakfast. The Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17
RiverFront/Florida Rock Seeking Time Extension From Zoning Commission; More Zoning, CSX, CapitalSpace
Oct 18, 2009 2:49 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting
has been posted, with two Near Southeast items listed. The first is that the developers of the RiverFront
(aka Florida Rock) site between the Anacostia and the ballpark
are apparently filing for a time extension on their zoning PUD ("planned unit development," for those of you mercifully unaware). When the zoning approval
for this project finally came through in 2008
(after years of slogging through the process), the developers were given until May of 2010 to apply for building permits for the first phase of the project (an office building on the east end of the site, near Diamond Teague Park
), with construction then required to start by May 2011. So, although it was recently reported
that Florida Rock Properties
is looking for an equity partner to help finance the development of the site, they clearly believe that it will be tough for them to meet the zoning order timeline.
Timeline extensions are increasingly common cases being heard by the Zoning Commission these days, as financing for commercial real estate development continues to be extremely difficult to procure; the Capper redevelopment
received one earlier this year
. I don't yet see a hearing date for FRP's extension request on the zoning calendar
In other tidbits:
* Also on the 6D agenda is the "Casa degli Angeli
" at Third and L
, which has a Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing scheduled for Nov. 17
. The six-unit building, which is currently operating as a month-to-month room rental, is looking for a zoning change to become a full-fledged bed and breakfast.
* The latest issue of Voice of the Hill has more detail
on the CSX plans to expand the Virginia Avenue tunnel; you can read the documents that CSX submitted
to the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board for some additional details. Quoting the Voice: "CSX spokesperson Bob Sullivan said the project would take between two-and-a-half and three years, while a District Department of Transportation Department official made a slightly lower estimate. 'We anticipate that there would be some traffic impacts during the course of this project, which is probably going to last a couple of years,' said agency spokesperson John Lisle.'" Neighbors in the area are concerned: ANC 6B will be getting a briefing about the plans at its Nov. 10 meeting.
* On Oct. 27, there's a public meeting
about the CapitalSpace plan
, "the first comprehensive analysis of Washington's parks and open space in almost 40 years," which is attempting to get the various federal and local agencies that run the many parks in the city more closely coordinated, along with other plans to improve the parks themselves. The meeting is at the MLK Library from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
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.
Reminder: Zoning Hearing on Yards/Trapeze School
Sep 18, 2009 10:55 AM
A reminder that on Monday (Sept. 21) 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.
Here's the report prepared by the Office of Planning
in advance of Monday's hearing, in which they recommend approval of the four text amendments being sought. They're asking for the trapeze school to be allowed for five years (or longer, via a special expection), and to dispense with the off-street parking requirement, since there's already so much surface parking at the Yards. There's also some technical needs to actually create tax parcel lots on the site to allow for the issuance of building permits.
The hearing is at 6:30 pm at 441 4th St., NW (Suite 220 South), or you can watch the live feed
or wait for the video on demand
(it gives me a smile just to type that--I've waited for video on demand for zoning hearings for so long!)
Upcoming Zoning Hearings (Trapeze School, B & B)
Jul 24, 2009 8:57 PM
What could be more interesting late on a Friday evening than news of two upcoming zoning hearings?
Details on the Trapeze School at the Yards
Jul 13, 2009 7:02 PM
I've gotten out of practice at this zoning stuff, so I didn't make clear that tonight's Zoning Commission hearing action with regards to moving
the Trapeze School New York
to the southeast corner of Fourth and Tingey
at the Yards
was going to merely be a vote for "set down," meaning that the commissioners would vote on whether the case can move forward to a full hearing. And, with no discussion or objection, the ZC did just that, 3-0-2 (commissioners May and Turnbull weren't present).
However, all is not lost, because as part of tonight's action, the Office of Planning prepared its set down report
on the case
, which has more detail for those who might be interested. Section IV is probably what most people want to know, so I'll just copy and paste (hey, it's summer, and I'm lazy):
"The applicant requests a text amendment that would allow the location of a trapeze school and aerial performing arts center, in the SEFC/R-5-E portion of the site, as a matter of right use for a period of five years. Additionally, the Zoning Commission would be able to extend the use beyond this time frame by special exception.
"The amendment would allow the relocation of an existing trapeze school, which currently operates on the site of the former D.C. Convention Center at 9th and H Streets, N.W, to Parcel O of the SEFC site. The trapeze school operates in this location on a temporary basis as well, and must vacate the premises by September 2009. The amendment is required to allow such a use within a residential district and would specifically limit the commercial use allowed to a trapeze school, to be permitted on a temporary basis.
"The proposed facility would be comprised of an indoor trapeze rig located within a tent structure as well as an outdoor flying trapeze rig. The tent is proposed to have a footprint of 50' by 80', which would be surrounded by walkways. The outdoor rig could be easily moved to different locations on the site and would be surrounded by a temporary fence. The proposed entrance to the trapeze facility would be on 4th Street, SE. The maximum height of the tent and outdoor rig would be 36' and 32' feet, respectively. The trapeze school would offer a variety of classes, for groups and individuals, as well as entertainment.
"Proposed activities include flying trapeze classes, trampoline classes, and team building corporate workshops. Performances and shows would also be held by participants of the intensive flying trapeze class as well as staff members. As parking for teachers, students, and participants is proposed to be provided adjacent to the site, OP recommends that the text amendment also include language to allow the required parking to be located off site (on Parcel N of the SEFC site), directly across 4th Street, SE."
Yards Requests Zoning Change for Trapeze School
Jul 10, 2009 2:44 PM
Skyline Gets Hip; Marine Letter on Capper Zoning
Jun 15, 2009 8:39 AM
* This is about 50 feet off-topic, but Hank Stuever wrote a neat piece in today's Post Style section
about the Capitol Skyline Hotel
at South Capitol and I, SW, and the revitalization it's undergoing, including the creation of a series of weekend events this summer, such as Spike Mendelsohn grilling burgers poolside on Sundays. If you look at the article online and see the "This Story" box of links, there's one for "Video: Capitol Skyline Pool, 1969
", which just happens to be a brief clip of my family swimming there (I'm the little fireplug just learning to swim). It's hard to see in this version, but at about the 24-second mark, when my dad is about to spring off the diving board, you can briefly see the "Esso" sign in the background that marks where the gas station just to the south of the hotel operated for so many years....
* Last week I wrote about the approval
by both the NCPC and the Zoning Commission of the Capper
zoning changes, and mentioned that the letter from the Marines that indicated the Corps' continued objections to the plans for apartments and an office building on the old Capper Seniors
site at Seventh and M, was not included with other materials about the case. I now have the letter
, which says in part:
"The Marine Corps [Anti-terrorism/Force Protection] issues are much greater in scope than those of the Navy. Because of our issues are more complex, considerable analysis and study is required to develop a solution that is acceptable, to the Marine Corps, the Developer, the Housing Authority and the District Planners. This detailed study must also be conducted in context of the larger community of stakeholders and historic integrity of the Marine Barracks as an institution. The Marine Corps has implemented a master planning effort to research and develop broad and unique solutions to these issues at hand." And: "The Marine Corps requires additional time to carry out our study and to develop acceptable solutions. Without adequate time to address these issues, including the possible need for alternatives on [the old Capper Seniors site], the Marine Barracks Mission and full function of that Institution could be jeopardized."
The Marines requested that the zoning action be tabled until adequate time was given to address their issues, but both the NCPC and the Zoning Commission gave the office and apartment plans their final approval anyway, with the record including the agreement between the developer and the Navy to address security concerns
Final Approval for Capper Zoning Changes; More Info on Security Requirements at 7th and M
Jun 9, 2009 3:34 PM
Last night the Zoning Commission voted 3-0-2 to give final approval to the Capper zoning requests
that have been wandering through the system for nearly a year. The record was reopened to add correspondence between the developer (Capper-Carrollsburg Ventures LLC, which includes the DC Housing Authority), the Marines, and the Navy Yard in reference to security concerns both service branches have about 90-foot buildings being constructed on the site of the old Capper Seniors building
at Seventh and M. (Read more about the concerns here
The National Capital Planning Commission documents
I linked to last week
included letters sent by the Marines and the Navy in early April setting out their objections; the NCPC has now posted new letters
from the Navy and also Holland and Knight (representing the developers), laying out the wording of the agreement between the parties to install (at the services' expense) surveillance cameras on the top of both the new office building that faces the Navy Yard
and the new apartment building that faces the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters
, and that the developer will provide to the Navy Yard a list of tenants on the fourth through eighth floors of the office building, though "this provision shall not be deemed to grant the Navy any right to approve or disapprove of any tenants in the office building." There's also a requirement to notify the Navy and Marines about any events to be held on the roof decks of the buildings, but "for informational purposes only," without requiring any type of approval. With the Navy agreeing to the wording of this agreement, its objection to the zoning case was withdrawn.
I'll note that there's also reference in these letters
to a June 3 letter from the Marines that is not included in the document packet, which seems to indicate that the Marines did not agree to the wording despite the developer's having believed that there had been an agreement. Quoting (see page 9
): "In fact, nothing in the Marines' June 3rd letter indicates why the Applicant's proposed conditions are unacceptable, or what remaining concerns the Marines have." There's then this sentence, which seems to be hinting at plans by the Marines for some new development: "The Marines, beyond the scope of the proposed modifications which are the subject of this pending application, have requested a delay to accommodate their entirely new planning initiative." And what would this new planning initiative be? I'm hearing murmurs that the Marines may be looking for more land for more barracks, though I'm not able to confirm that.
In any event, the developer laid out a list of reasons that this zoning approval should not be delayed, and both the NCPC (last week
) and the Zoning Commission (last night) gave their approvals for the zoning changes
in spite of whatever objections the Marines were putting forth.
There wasn't much discussion of all of this at the Zoning Commission's meeting, but I need an excuse to link to the Video on Demand section
of the DCOZ web site, which apparently has been around for months but which I only noticed last night. So, if you want to watch this or any ZC/BZA public meeting going back to November of 2008, they're now there for the taking. (And it's also nice to see how quickly last night's video was posted.)
Now, with these Capper zoning changes approved, the next milestone to watch for will be when the Housing Authority can find financing for another PILOT bond offering to rebuild the infrastructure on the west side of the Capper footprint (including around Canal Park
), as well as the mitigation and demolition of the trash transfer station at New Jersey and K. That PILOT financing will also fund the Community Center
that has been the subject of much contentious back-and-forth. Are the credit markets unfrozen enough to get this PILOT off the ground? We shall see....
Video of Obama at Five Guys, Ward 6 Family Day, and Other Tidbits
Jun 3, 2009 10:19 PM
* Admit it: you know you want to see it--here's NBC's coverage of the Obama visit to Five Guys
, from Tuesday night's "Inside the Obama White House" special. (Click on "Part 5", "Out to Lunch with Obama.") With a bunch of brief glimpses of the Little Red Building!
* The Third Annual Ward 6 Family Day
is happening on June 20, from 11 am to 3 pm at the Rosedale Rec Center in Northeast. Tommy Wells's web site says
activities will include "Capitol Hill Bikes free bike safety inspections and adjustments, celebrity kickball game, Washington Humane Society animal adoption and training, basketball games, face painting, moon bounce, corn hole tournament, horseshoes and live music. In addition, the pool will be open for the summer."
* The Nationals are having their first Ladies Night and Homerun Happy Hour
of 2009, Thursday night (June 4). Free food (Hard Times) and beverages, and "shopping, dancing, massages and manicures with participating vendors." There'll even be a mechanical bull. Tickets are $30
, and include a seat in sections 101-104.
* The Board of Zoning Adjustment has approved Donohoe's requested extension
on the special exception
it received back in 2007
for its planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue
, which would have expired at the end of this year. I didn't watch the hearing, so I don't know how long the extension is good for.
and City Paper
have coverage of the naming of Valerie Santos Young as the new Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
Navy/Marines Concerned About Buildings at 7th and M
Jun 3, 2009 1:02 PM
Contained in the materials for Thursday's meeting
of the National Capital Planning Commission
is a document that sheds some light
on something I've always wondered about--exactly how does the Navy Yard
feel about the planned 90-foot-tall office building right across the street at 600 M, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building
? And, concurrently, how do the Marines feel about the planned apartments directly between this new 600 M building and the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters
on L Street?
The NCPC board is reviewing the Zoning Commission's approval
of the slew of Capper zoning changes
that I wrote so much about earlier this year, some of which focus on these two new buildings on the old Capper Seniors site
. The Executive Director's recommendation document
(which provides some good background if you haven't been following along
), refers to letters included in the document to the Zoning Commission from both the Navy and Marines stating that the new buildings on what's known as Square 882 "may pose a safety and security threat to the military personnel at both the Navy Yard and the Marine Barracks and that the there will be a visual impact on the Navy Yard Historic District."
Apparently the Navy, Marines, the DC Housing Authority, and Forest City (developers of 600 M) have tentatively agreed to a few steps to mitigate these concerns: the placement of surveillance cameras on the roofs of the proposed buildings, procedures for notifying the Navy and Marines when the roofs are to be accessed, review by the Marines and Navy Yard of tenants wishing to occupy the third through eighth floors of the 600 M office building, and a "window design to enhance security for Navy and Marines." (On this last point, the document says that "the Navy and Marines would request that the windows facing their sites not be operational," but I wonder how tenants in the proposed apartment building along L Street would feel if none of their windows could ever be opened.) The document says that memorandums of understanding between the housing authority and the Navy and the Marines should be able to be completed within the next few weeks.
Additionally, in its letter to the Zoning Commission, the Navy Yard mentions its belief that "buildings exceeding the currently permitted fifty (50) foot height restrictions located across M Street from the Navy Yard Historic District will negatively impact the view shed from the Navy Yard" and "could potentially compromise the integrity of the Washington Navy Yard Historic District, including the Latrobe Gate." It might be worth noting here that the old Capper Seniors building
, built in the 1950s and demolished in 2007, was nine stories high, and so an uninterrupted "view shed" is not something that the Navy Yard has always enjoyed since its arrival in the neighborhood back in 1799.
The NCPC's reason for reviewing Zoning Commission cases in DC is to determine whether the proposed actions would have an "adverse effect" on federal interests, and, in this case, the NCPC staff is advising their commission to vote to advise the Zoning Commission that these Capper cases do indeed meet that "adverse effect" standard. Also, the NCPC staff is recommending that the Zoning Commission delay their final action on this case (scheduled for Monday, June 8) to allow the agreement described above to be finalized.
Slowly Returning to Full-Strength Blogging
May 4, 2009 9:54 PM
I know people have noticed that JDLand's coverage (and quality) has taken a nosedive in 2009--some of it is because of life at My Real Job is particularly hectic in this era of big change (and plummeting revenue), but I can also now finally reveal that my free time for the past few months has been swallowed up by my planning and executing a huge 100-guest surprise party for my mother, which finally went off without a hitch
on Sunday morning. With that wrapped up, I will now try to remember exactly how I used to do things here. I'll start tentatively:
* Despite a few readers being told
that the Bullpen beer garden at Half and N would open on May 1, it hasn't yet opened. I haven't heard any new date.
* From Friday's WashBizJournal
: "Dozens of high-profile projects are facing liens from hard-pressed contractors. In just one week of March, Forest City Washington was slapped with a $191,460 lien for work done at its Yards
project near the baseball stadium, while Faison Enterprises Inc. and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds LLC got hit with a $118,674 lien at the nearby Onyx Apartments
* The Board of Zoning Adjustment calendar for June
indicates that Donohoe has filed for a time extension on the special exception
it received back in 2007
for its planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue
. The original order expires in December unless building permit applications are filed before then; Donohoe's request for an extension would appear to indicate that that won't be happening this year.
"[S]taff strongly recommends that the Commission require the Navy undertake and coordinate with NCPC development of an updated WNY master plan, including a transportation management plan that demonstrate how the WNY parking ratio meets NCPC's Comprehensive Plan goals, and submit that plan to the Commission prior to submitting any new project." The Navy Yard's last official master plan update was in the 1990s.
* A postcard that was delivered to our house this morning listed 309 K St. SE (one of the remaining old townhouses) as being scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure auction this month; however, the auctioner's web site says the property has been removed
from the auction. Starting bid was going to be at $50,000.
* Speaking of that block of existing homes, someone has finally begun to renovate the old multi-unit building at Third and L
that has been vacant for as long as I've been watching the neighborhood. A local resident has leased it and is turning it into Casa degli Angeli
, a nautical-themed "month-to-month" bed and breakfast.
1111 New Jersey
, Akridge/Half St.
, Casa Degli Angeli
, Navy Yard
, Square 743N
, Nationals Park
, The Yards
Zoning Commission Approves Slightly Shorter Community Center Delay
Apr 28, 2009 2:20 PM
On Monday night, a surprisingly contentious Zoning Commission meeting resulted in the three voting members approving a delay in the deadline for the Housing Authority to file for building permits for the proposed Capper Community Center
; however, after some heated exchanges between commissioners, it was decided to vote not for the DCHA's requested deadline of Jan. 1, 2011, but instead a shorter deadline of July 1, 2010.
Commissioner May argued that DCHA had not made a compelling case for why the center isn't going forward, and that the discussion at the March hearing (transcript here
, my description here
, and a letter from ANC 6D about it all here
) on the extension "resonated" with him, and he recalled that the community center was one of the prime benefits for residents when the original Capper PUD
was approved. Jeffries, as frustrated and blunt as I've seen him (probably because his term is about to end), said repeatedly that "the world is a different place now," that the developers needed to be given some flexibility to get things done, and that it was not the place of the commission to "be punitive" given the current economic conidtions. Chairman Hood attempted to find middle ground between the two (which begat Jeffries curtly telling Hood "this is a time when you're going to have to take a side"), although in the end all three voted for the July 2010 deadline.
Representatives of the Housing Authority said they'd be trying their best to meet that deadline, but with the difficulties of finding funding for the project, they might very well be returning to request an extension of that July 2010 deadline.
The other requests, including an overall extension of the PUD deadline to Dec. 31, 2013 and a bunch of other items
I can't bring myself to write about again, were approved with far less sturm und drang.
BID Newsletter; Bike Rack Ceremony; Capper Zoning Vote?; Teague Dedication
Apr 26, 2009 6:18 PM
The latest Capitol Riverfront Connections newsletter
from the BID was sent out late last week, with updates on the LEED for Homes plaque presentation last week
at Capitol Quarter
, an interview with BID executive director Michael Stevens on Newschannel8
, and news of a ceremony coming tomorrow (Monday) at 2 pm on the Tingey Plaza at USDOT
, where Mayor Fenty will kick off the launch of 28 new artistic bike racks around the city.
Also on Monday, at 6:30 pm, is a Zoning Commission hearing where a first vote could possibly come on the batch of zoning changes being requested for Capper/Carrollsburg to which I've dedicated so many bytes
And, on Tuesday morning at 8:30 am is a dedication ceremony
and breakfast fundraiser (also with the mayor) for Diamond Teague Park
, being held across the street at the foot of the stadium's grand staircase. Tickets are $50 per person.
ANC Concerns about Capper Returns, Community Center Construction Delays
Apr 14, 2009 2:22 PM
At Monday night's meeting, ANC 6D voted 6-0-1 to approve a letter drafted by commissioners McBee and Siegel responding to submissions by the Housing Authority in the wake of the marathon March 20 zoning commission hearing
on the various modifications and extensions
being requested for the Capper PUD
. As I wrote on the 20th, there was much discussion about DCHA's request to delay construction of the planned community center
until at least 2011, and there was also testimony by two former Capper residents that DCHA isn't adhering to what the 2004 zoning order
requires in terms of job training and other social services for the former Capper residents.
The letter ANC 6D is now forwarding to the Zoning Commission can be read here
, and it addresses in detail the Community Support Services Program
(CSSP) and the community center. The DCHA numbers quoted in the ANC letter show an initial CSSP case load since 2005 of 828 cases, with only 394 cases now active due to residents declining to participate, being declared ineligible, or having gone "missing." The letter also says that no further funding for the CSSP program is forthcoming from HUD, and says that the numbers provided by DCHA "do not paint a good picture for a Hope VI Project whose main objective is sustainability and empowerment for the effected community."
As for the community center
planned for Fifth and K, the ANC says that its delay "has already done sufficient damage" and that its absence "will fail to address the social and educational needs of the residents." The ANC also notes a lack of any mention of the center in various testimonies by DCHA on their budget and on stimulus dollars coming to the city, saying "we now have no confidence [...] that the Center will ever be built."
The Zoning Commission's next hearing on these Capper doings is expected to be on April 27.
4 1/2 Hours of Capper Zoning in Capsule Form
Mar 20, 2009 7:04 PM
How can I possibly summarize in this small space the never-ending parade of testimony and questions at last night's hearing on the various Capper zoning modification requests
? (I just thank the heavens I watched the web cast and didn't attend in person.) If you didn't avail yourself of this entertainment, you'll just have to wait for the transcript to come out to get all the specifics, but here's a few bullet points on issues that were brought up (read the Office of Planning report
on what was actually being requested):
* Commissioner May was displeased that there were no "sample boards" of the exterior finishes for the two new apartment buildings
, as is apparently required for a stage 2 planned-unit-development approval.
* The commissioners were clearly befuddled by the scope of the requests, variances, and exceptions before them, even though last year they had requested that the three separate filings be grouped together in a single hearing.
* There was much discussion of the request to further delay the construction of the community center
until at least 2011, with the Housing Authority testifying at length as to the financial realities of the bond and lending markets (see more about that here
), and members of the public and ANC commissioners (Siegel and McBee of 6D) emphasizing as they have in the past
"the community's" need for the center and questioning DCHA's idea that the neighborhood needs to reach a "critical mass" before the center should be built (does 300 completed units out of a planned 1700 meet that threshold?). DCHA said repeatedly that building a community center is a promise they have made that will not be broken, but that right now it's just not a possibility.
* Two former Capper residents testified to their belief that the Housing Authority is not adhering to what's required in terms of job training and other social services that are supposed to be provided while residents are waiting to move back, which got chair Anthony Hood into a bit of a dander. (Read pages 12-14 of the 2004 Capper zoning order
to see what is expected in this realm.) This and the other public comments (such as the "why can't you use Obama's stimulus money?" question that had come up at ANC 6D
) brought a somewhat forceful response from David Cortiella of the Housing Authority as to what they're doing for the former residents, and he again went through the current barriers to financing the center. There was then a minor dustup between commissioners Jeffries and May, with May pressing the housing authority on its performance and timeline and Jeffries expressing some level of surprise that the zoning commission was questioning a Hope VI redevelopment's financial problems "in this economic climate."
By the time the hearing wrapped up at 11:15 pm (and I'd be lying if I said I had paid attention to every word), the commission was requesting a series of additional filings from the housing authority and its team, and put it all on their April 27 agenda. (And look for this to be back on the ANC 6D agenda on April 13, too.)
Capper PUD Hearing on Thursday; New Renderings and Background Info
Mar 18, 2009 1:52 PM
I've just about reached my recommended yearly allowance of writing about the various Capper zoning requests
that are pending right now, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel, since the hearing
is finally being held Thursday night at 6:30 pm. If you've grown tired (as I have) of my haphazard attempts to describe exactly what's being requested, you can now pour through the Office of Planning report
, which gives far more detail than I've ever attempted. Even if you don't want to know that much about it all, there's a pretty good map on page three of the report that details the plans for every block of Capper/Carrollsburg
(though without any timelines for the future projects). I have a similar map on my main Capper page
, but this one does add a lot of detail.
I've also managed to snag the first renderings of two of the planned Capper apartment buildings, which I've added to my project page
. One (seen at top left) shows the 171-unit building planned for L Street, next to Canal Park
and behind the proposed 250 M Street
office building. There's also now a first look at the 189-unit building planned for the 600 block of L Street (seen above), on the north side of the old Capper Seniors
lot and just south of the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters
. In the original Capper plans, this site was going to be townhouses, but it was decided that an apartment building would fit in better with the larger surrounding structures.
ANC 6D Supports Capper PUD Modifications
Mar 10, 2009 10:57 AM
I can't hardly bring myself to write about the Capper PUD modification requests
*again* (my first post on them was back in July
), so I'll just stick to the basics and say that on Monday night ANC 6D voted to support the three requests, with provisos that the Zoning Commission request the start date for construction of the community center
be in 2011 and not 2012 and that the Housing Authority provide *50* parking spaces in the lot at 7th and M for health-care workers who visit the Capper Seniors #1
apartment building, where apparently there is trouble with parking (according to commissioner Robert Siegel, who lives across the street). The delay on the community center was again a major sticking point (just as it was at the February meeting
where these requests were also presented, giving Monday night a very Groundhog Day feel), and the Housing Authority representatives again explained that the center must be financed with bonds, which are all but impossible to "float" these days given the economic realities. (The bonds that eventually pay for the community center will also pay for the demolition of the trash transfer station and the other infrastructure work needed on the western edge of the Capper footprint, around Canal Park
.) Cries of "but what about the Obama stimulus money?" also were left unsatisfied. But, in the end, with the extra wording proposed by Commissioner Sobelsohn and approved by Siegel, the resolution passed.
The Zoning Commission will have its hearing on these three requests on March 19
. Read my February
postings for all the specifics. And I hope to at some point get renderings of the apartment buildings planned for L Street between Second and Third and between Sixth and Seventh (hint, hint).
Four Renderings of Akridge's Half Street
Mar 9, 2009 10:28 AM
With thanks to the folks at Akridge
, I at last have some renderings of their planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on Half Street, which I've added to my project page
and paired with the "before" photos of the same location. These are the plans that were approved by the Zoning Commission last month
, and you can read my more detailed description
of the project for additional information. Construction could begin in 2010.
ANC 6D Meeting on Monday
Mar 6, 2009 1:44 PM
The agenda has been sent out (though not yet posted
) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW. The only Near Southeast item on the agenda is a vote on the three zoning PUD modifications being sought for the Capper/Carrollsburg
redevelopment--they were presented to the ANC back in February, which you can read about here
. Other agenda items include updates on the Waterside Mall redevelopment and the Southwest Zoning Planning process, the SunTrust marathon, the proposals for the new firehouse at 4th and School, SW, and the job fair held in Southwest earlier this week for employment at Nationals 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.
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.
) 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.
Zoning Commission Approves Akridge Half Street
Feb 26, 2009 7:51 PM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission gave final approval to the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
of Akridge's Half Street project
, on the site of the old WMATA bus garage at Half and M. Normally this would be where I would link to my entry with a detailed description of the late January hearing on this review--except that I couldn't find it. And as I thought back, it then dawned on me that I didn't actually write one. I think I was waiting to see if maybe I could get some renderings (which I've failed at), and then life sped onward. Oops. Feel free to ask for your money back.
But at least I wrote a long description of the project
when it was presented to ANC 6D in December--or, if you really want to know how the hearing went, here's the transcript
. (Though it will be pretty hard to follow along without any drawings to look at.)
The 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project could get underway in early 2010. The bus garage will probably be demolished pretty soon, to clear the space for stadium parking.
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.