Square 696 is bounded by 1st, Half, I, and K, and is four blocks north of Nationals Park and two blocks south of the Southeast Freeway.
Congressional Square (88 K, 77 I)/Square 696

Long home to a towing company, a car repair shop, and a firewood lot, the entire block was purchased in April 2007 by DRI Development Services (a wholly owned subsidiary of Transwestern) and Jamestown Properties in two separate deals totaling just under $64 million for 74,000 square feet of land. Plans call for buildings totaling approximately 825,000 square feet of office and retail, designed to LEED Gold specifications. The first phase would be 300,000-sq-ft 88 K, along with 77 I, a "headquarters" space that could provide either 125,000 or 250,000 sq ft. The original branding "The Plaza on K" was changed to "Congressional Square" in 2012.

Links:
Official Web Site | DRI Congressional Square Project Page
DRI Development Services LLC, a Transwestern Company | Jamestown Properties
Architect: HOK
JD's Square 696 News Items & Additional Links


            JD's Photos            Square 696 News Items            

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

Work at Plaza on K Site (Not Starting Construction!)
Nov 30, 2010 2:56 PM
If you see some work being done on the block bounded by 1st, K, L, and Half in the next couple of days, don't get all excited that construction might be starting on the Plaza on K project. DRI--who bought the block for $69.4 million in 2007--tell me that they are going to be doing some leveling work to get rid of the eight-foot hill in the middle of the lot, to make it show a little nicer for prospective tenants who might be looking at the site. There will also be new fences put up.
Plans for the site currently call for buildings totaling approximately 825,000 square feet of LEED Gold office and retail. The first phase would be 300,000-sq-ft 88 K, along with 77 I, a "headquarters" space that could provide either 125,000 or 250,000 sq ft of space. There are also plans for a 10,000-sq-ft public plaza, surrounded by 14,000 sq ft of retail, along with another building (50 K) in a later phase. You can see my project page for more details, or visit the official web site. There's no timeline at this point for when the project might get underway.

Two Brief Follow-Ups on Parking (Map, New Lot)
Nov 19, 2009 11:35 PM
Late night items:
* Here is the map from Wednesday's performance parking meeting, showing where the $288,000 in "non-automobile" improvements are going to be spent.
* I received a message today from Potomac Parking, the company that will be running the new surface parking lot on Half Street between I and K (the eventual home of the Plaza on K). They tell me that, once they get their lot finished and permits secured, it will be a 24-hour lot, available for monthly/daily/hourly/gameday parking, which might make it a possibility for residents looking for a place to park where they won't get a ticket and where the space (presumably) won't cost $40,000. Judging from the web site, it looks like it'll be an unmanned lot, with various technologies to handle payments. More information when I get it.

Lots of Little Items (Real Life Still Intervenes): Plaza on K Renderings, Barracks Row, More
Jan 14, 2009 2:38 PM
Still knee-deep in inauguration craziness in real life, so can't devote much time to Hood things these days. Here's some quick bullet items, which at least I've managed to Twitter over the past few days so that I'm not completely shirking my responsibilities. (Don't forget that these Tweets get displayed at the upper right of the JDLand home page, if you just want to check them every so often.)
* I've received some swell new renderings of the Plaza on K office/retail project at First and K. The official web site also now has a whole lot of detailed information as well. Transwestern announced last week that they have officially begun marketing the project, and that the two buildings along First Street--88 K and 77 I--would make up the first phase. There's also a 10,000-square-foot public plaza at First and K that would be surrounded by ground-floor retail. It also is "designed to LEED Gold standards." See the above links for additional details. No timeline for the start of the first phase--I'm guessing they're not building on spec in this environment.
* The final Connect Barracks Row report has been posted; this was the study by University of Maryland students on how to reconfigure the southern end of Eighth Street below the freeway to better connect it with its neighbors to the north.
* I mentioned the other day that none of the *hundreds* of Near Southeast bars would be taking advantage of the special Inauguration extended hours, but I was incorrect. A lot of people (like me!) probably don't know that the "Bachelor's Mill/Back Door Pub" at 1104 Eighth Street SE in the block north of the Navy Yard even exists (even though their web site lists it as "The District's oldest and largest entertainment complex exclusively dedicated to the gay and lesbian communities"), but they're on the list of approved late-hours venues.
* A resident reports that last two little buildings standing on the 1345 South Capitol footprint have been demolished in the past few days. But no word on whether this means Camden is starting to move forward on this apartment project.
* I failed again, and couldn't make the ANC 6B meeting on Tuesday night. But I'm hoping that the update on the South Capitol Street Final EIS--my main reason for going--will be done for ANC 6D next month.
* Every year I've celebrated on January 20 the anniversary of my starting to track the goings-on in Near Southeast (Jan. 20, 2003 was the first day I went out to take photos, which I then posted on my web site). The past few years I've marked it by posting my annual State of the Hood roundup. However, this year, given that the lead-up to January 20 is going to be just a touch busy, I'm guessing I'll miss my self-imposed deadline by a few days. Waaah!

Hit-or-Miss Batch of New Photos
Sep 30, 2008 10:18 AM
Before the storm clouds arrived yesterday (literally and figuratively), I got out and took an incomplete smattering of pictures along Second, New Jersey, First, Cushing, and Half. (Use those links to see all the before-and-nows of these latest shots.) These new photos are mainly of 909 New Jersey, Velocity, 55 M, the empty skyline where 1015 Half is just about to reach ground level, and the final "after" photos from the demolition of the Merritt Cab building at First and K on Square 696. The sun disappeared before I could get over to Capitol Quarter, so new photos from there will have to wait a few days, and since the afternoon remained cloudy (and busy), I didn't take an afternoon batch (i.e., no photos looking east).
And, if you haven't wandered through them for a while, the gallery of my favorite before-and-afters is a striking walk through the past few years, as the memories of the old Near Southeast start to get just a wee bit hazy.

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

Merritt Cab Being Demolished Today
Aug 21, 2008 10:17 AM
With thanks to reader J. for the tip, I can report that the cab garage on the northwest corner of First and K is getting demolished today. This is where the DRI/Transwestern Plaza on K may be getting underway this fall. (I'm posting this from my cell, so links will have to wait 'til later.) UPDATED with a link and a tiny before and after photos above. I've also added it as #153 in the Demolished Buildings gallery.

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

Raze Permit for 925 First Street; 'The Plaza on K'
May 13, 2008 9:02 AM
A raze permit has been filed for the now-vacant white one-story garage on the northwest corner of First and K, where DRI Development is planning to build the first phase of its three-building 825,000-sq-ft Square 696 office/retail project, a 300,000-sq-ft building that is expected to begin construction later this year. This garage was, until the end of February, home to both Four Star Cab and Merritt Cab, both of which relocated when their leases expired.
A peek into CoStar (link may not work right, and CoStar doesn't allow direct links to listings for plebes like me) shows lease listings for both 50 K Street and 90 K Street, each also labeled "The Plaza on K," which I imagine also is referencing the 8,000-sq-ft public plaza planned for K Street at First Street. 90 K appears to be the first building planned for the site, listed at 300,000 total square feet and 12 stories, with a "year built" date of 2010. Its sibling 50 K is listed at 285,000 sq ft and 12 stories, with no "built" date (though both listings have an April 2010 occupancy date in their detail pages). See my Square 696 page for a rendering of the project, plus a site map and photos of the block in its current incarnation.

Before and Afters: Unrecognizable First Street
Apr 6, 2008 12:15 PM
The sunlight wasn't fabulous when I ventured out yesterday, but I still took a pretty complete set of photos along First Street between I and N. With 909 New Jersey now peeking up above ground level, and Velocity racing upwards, the skyline is morphing yet again. And of course work continues on Onyx and 100 M (both due to be completed this summer). As I've mentioned a few times lately, the streetscape improvements to First Street have made the stretch from I Street southward pretty much unrecognizable from what it was a year or so ago (or even three months ago).
While you can look at the complete set of photos I took yesterday, I'd suggest taking a little extra time and looking at these new shots by intersection, where you can see the photos paired with their "befores": check out First and I, First and K, First and L, First and M, and First and N (above); and there's also some updates at Half and N by the ballpark Center Field Gate and New Jersey and I thrown in as well. Click on the See All Photos of This Angle wherever you see it to see the photos between the Before and the After (or, more precisely, the "During").
Soon I'll post some additional photos from yesterday of portions of The Yards, which is now more accessible thanks to the new parking lots. And if the sun ever comes out again, I'll venture along Half Street and other locations that need updating.

Small Businesses Being Squeezed, Previous Stadium Openings, Plus Tuesday's Other Ballpark News
Mar 25, 2008 11:37 PM
* Wednesday's Post uses the plight of the Positive Nature youth program to look at how all the remaining small businesses near the ballpark are having a tough time dealing with their skyrocketing tax assessments. The cab company moving next week mentioned in the article is Merritt Cab at First and K, where DRI is planning its 800,000-sq-ft office and retail project. There's also an accompanying video on Positive Nature; and it's interesting to note that Positive Nature arrived in the neighborhood in 2004, so it's not a long-standing business the way the Market Deli is, whose owner is now on the hook for $50,000 a year in property taxes.
* There's also a story that looks back at the openings of DC sports venues through the years, with highlights such as the Capital Centre getting its final inspection approvals just a few hours before the first Bullets game and the 15-mile backup on the Beltway that greeted the first game at FedEx Field.
* The Post's special section on the 2008 baseball season is also in Wednesday's paper, with plenty of mentions of the new ballpark, like these from Tom Boswell and Dave Sheinin.
Other ballpark stories from Tuesday (keeping in mind that for now I'm just pointing out pieces that have some slightly different angle from the eight billion other pieces):
* Bruce Johnson of WUSA blogs about the police presence planned for the ballpark, but I was unable to focus on the content after being greeted by my own photo from Saturday's GW game right at the top of his entry. Glad to know you're a reader, Bruce! Tell your readers and viewers about my site sometime!
* WTOP continues its ballpark-story-a-day regimen with word (and video!) that, while some of the new temporary surface lots *look* like they're dirt, they're actually a "mixture of compact concrete and other elements that help with drainage."

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

Monday Morning Tidbits
Dec 31, 2007 8:52 AM
It's New Year's Eve, and I'm trying desperately to wring two more days of laziness out of this holiday season, but here's a couple items anyway:
* I'm not about to plunk down the $35 a month for a subscription to find out for sure, but this BidClerk.com posting on a search for a general contractor sounds pretty familiar: "Renovation of and a new addition to a multi-residential complex in Washington. Completed construction plans call for the construction of a six-story, 170-unit apartment building to include renovation of an existing four-story, 157,000-square-foot warehouse with a two-story, 49,000-square-foot addition above the existing roof. General contractor bids are due January 10, 2008." Could there really be that many buildings in the city other than the brown-and-white Pattern/Joiner Shop at The Yards that would so perfectly fit that description?
* If you're driving through the intersection at Half and I, you might be so distracted by the temporary blacktop that now cuts across the old southwest corner that you miss the new sign on the southeast corner advertising DRI/Transwestern's Square 696 project. There's a rendering but no other details.
* The DC Foreign Car garage at 31 K (on the 1015 Half Street site) has just a few hours to become the last demolished building of 2007. But maybe they're gunning for the honor of being the first one of 2008.

Council Passes Alley Closing and Capper PILOT
Dec 11, 2007 3:33 PM
Two bills of Near Southeast interest passed their first readings at today's city council meeting, on the consent agenda, no less. (Consent agenda = no discussion or bickering! Yay!) First was Bill 17-0448, which authorizes the closing of the public alley on Square 696 (bounded by Half, First, I, and K), and which had been interesting mainly for the affordable housing trust fund contribution discrepancy that came up during the bill's hearing a few weeks ago, when the developers noted that they expected their contribution to be in the neighborhood of $900,000 and the Office of Planning determined the required sum be closer to $8 million. Apparently the final bill calls for a $1.1 million contribution, which council chairman Vincent Gray said is the largest trust fund contribution ever as the result of an alley closing. The developers also have agreed to create a 20-foot-wide pedestrian right-of-way through the middle of the block to allow for easy access from I Street to the planned public plaza on K Street, though apparently DDOT requested that this right-of-way be upgradable for "motorized access" in the future if necessary. This alley closing will allow DRI Development to move forward with their plans for 800,000 square feet of office space in three buildings with 37,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. There've been noises that the first construction on the site could begin in the summer of 2008, but nothing official has been announced. (The last tenants on the block, in the cab garage at First and K, are expected to move out in February when their lease expires.)
Also passed today was Bill 17-0292, the Capper PILOT funding bill that I just wrote about in detail a couple days ago. This authorizes a bond issuance of up to $55 million that will yield close to $37 million to pay for infrastructure improvements at Capper/Carrollsburg. The bonds will then be repaid by landowners making payments in lieu of property taxes. I should mention that these PILOT funds won't only be repaid by residents of Capitol Quarter--there are two planned office developments totaling 750,000 square feet that are within the Capper PILOT area (600 M Street at the old Capper Seniors site and 250 M Street) that will generate PILOT payments.
Each bill will come before the council again in January for their final votes.

Square 696 Alley Closing Hearing -- The $7 Million Question
Nov 16, 2007 8:52 AM
Thanks to the glories of the On Demand video offerings at the city's Office of Cable Television web site, I was able to catch Wednesday's hearing on the request to close the 8,197-square-foot alley that bisects Square 696, the block bounded by I, K, First, and Half streets that DRI Development bought in April for $64 million. As I posted a few weeks ago after DRI's presentation to ANC 6D, DRI is planning more than 825,000 square feet of office and retail on the block, in three buildings that would be built in three phases, the first being a 300,000-square-foot office building along I Street that could begin construction in the summer of 2008.
As part of its successful bid to get the ANC's support, DRI and its development partner Jamestown Properties have committed to a $100,000 payment to the Near Southeast/Southwest community fund, LEED certification, and an 8,000-square-foot public plaza at First and K streets to replace the "public space" being lost by the alley closing.
The early part of the hearing was pretty standard as these types of sessions go. The development's representatives described their agreement with the ANC, and also the planned 37,000-square-feet of retail what would serve not only the office tenants but also the residential projects that will soon surround the block on all sides. Also touted were the large south-facing public plaza (light-filled and sunny!) with a 20-foot-wide pedestrian "breezeway" through the block to open the area to pedestrians arriving from I Street, the innovative loading ramps within turnaround space inside the buildings to eliminate the need for commercial vehicles to back up or turn around out in the streets, the fitness center with changing and shower facilities to encourage bicycle use, and more.
Then, Council Member Tommy Wells began to ask questions about the amount of the developers' required contribution to the city's Housing Production Trust Fund, dedicated to the creation of affordable housing. Wells brought up a slight discrepancy between the number the developers were citing versus what the Office of Planning had determined the figure to be.
Developer figure? Approximately $890,000.
Office of Planning figure? More like $8 million.
The hearing then became a blur of real and estimated assessed values, total F.A.R. based on T.D.R.s (that's total floor-area ratios based on transfers of development rights, for those of you whose minds are blissfully unsullied with this stuff), buildable square footage, and on-the-fly calculations. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, after commenting that even the $890,000 figure cited by the developers would be the largest trust fund contribution ever, wondered how many projects in the District "would see the light of day" if the city starts talking about $8 million contributions. Wells and Gray agreed that the calculating discrepancies need to be resolved so that the trust fund law can be implemented consistently, and the hearing ended with pledges from the applicant to provide additional information.
And despite the wrangling over the trust fund contribution, Council Member Wells made sure to reiterate that he supports the project, especially because of the environmentally friendly aspects of the design.
In the meantime, the last tenant on the block (a taxi repair garage) will be vacating when its lease expires in February.
Check my Square 696 page for an early sitemap of the project, along with photos of the block.

Square 696 Alley Closing Gets ANC Support
Sep 11, 2007 11:04 AM
Last night a request to close the alley that runs between I and K streets parallel to Half and First on Square 696 was on the ANC 6D agenda. But first there was three-and-a-half hours of discussion and debate on various Southwest issues, including the Randall School, Waterside Mall, the Nassif Building, and more--at least, I think that's what they were talking about, because the acoustics at St. Augustine's Church are so horrendous that everyone could have been describing their summer vacations for all I know.
Finally, at about 10:30, representatives of DRI Development and architect HOK gave a brief summary of their plans for the block, which are still very much in the early stages, but were described as "something other than your standard box." The plans show three office buildings (not four, as we've heard up to now) all with ground-floor retail, connected by a "galleria"-type lobby in the center. There would also be an 8,000-sq-ft public plaza opening up to K Street, to give open space to not only the office workers but also the residents of the four buildings surrounding Square 696.
As part of the alley closing request, DRI and its development partner Jamestown Properties are offering a $100,000 payment to the Near Southeast/Southwest community fund, a promise that the building will be LEED certified (a vegetated roof is part of the plans), and the 8,000-sq-ft open space of the plaza to replace the 8,000-sq-ft of "public space" being lost by the alley closing.
The ANC commissioners were quite pleased with what they heard, congratulating the developers on working with the commission on the benefits package before presenting their alley closing request. Commissioner McBee suggested that perhaps some public art could be included at the plaza, as well as public wifi. The final vote was 6-1 in favor of the project, with only Commissioner Skolnik opposing.
DRI was kind enough to pass along the preliminary site plan, which I've added to my Square 696 page. The alley closing request will now wind its way through the city council.

One More New Batch of Overhead Photos
Sep 6, 2007 3:17 PM
Having decided that overhead views of Near Southeast from the ballpark and the Southeast Freeway over the past few days weren't enough, I've also now added a bunch of updated overheads from a vantage point at the Courtyard by Marriott, focusing on the many construction projects west of New Jersey Avenue. You can browse these new photos, or see the ones displayed with previous shots from the same location (scroll down a bit) to watch the changes since March of last year. (Hint: old buildings, followed by empty lots where old buildings used to be, followed by holes in the ground, followed by new buildings going up.)

ANC 6D September Agenda - Square 696 Alley Closing
Sep 5, 2007 9:57 AM
ANC 6D (covering Southwest and Near Southeast) will have its monthly meeting on Sept. 10, and the draft agenda (now posted online) includes a request to support the closing of the alley that bisects Square 696 (bounded by Half, I, K, and First) as a first step in DRI Development's plans to redevelop the entire block. As I posted here, DRI and development partner Jamestown Properties are planning a four-building office and retail project, to be constructed in four phases, starting in 2008 and ending in 2012 or later.
Non-Near Southeast agenda items include a discussion of the plans for the old Randall School at Half and I, an update on the plans for the Nassif building where the US Department of Transportation used to live, and a discussion of the apparent resolution between community members and the developers of the old Waterside Mall of the massing of the building facades facing M Street SW. The meeting is at St. Augustine's Church, 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm.

This Week's Ballpark and Beyond Column
Aug 30, 2007 11:27 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post covers the recent departure of AnA Towing to make way for DRI's Square 696 development; the raze permits for the old Capper Seniors complex and the buildings just north of the stadium along First and N streets; and the planned opening in September of the new Spay and Neuter Center at 1001 L Street. (I can't believe I made it through a column without a single piece about parking!)

HOK to Design Square 696 Office/Retail
Aug 24, 2007 12:28 PM
Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal reports that HOK has been hired to design the new four-building 825,000-sq-ft office and retail project by DRI Development on Square 696, the block bounded by First, Half, I, and K. (Well, actually WBJ says it's Nationals ballpark architect HOK Sport that's been hired, but I might think that it's not the sports division of HOK that will be designing this office/retail development, unless there's going to be a soccer stadium on the roof.) DRI now has an information page on Square 696 (also known as "99 I Street"), which says that the project will be developed in four phases, with expected start of the first phase in 2008 and delivery in late 2009; the entire project would be completed in 2012. My Square 696 has some photos if you want to see the block's current state; and it should be noted that this is the block from which AnA Towing decamped last week.

AnA Towing Trailer Gone, and Who Might Be Next
Aug 22, 2007 9:24 AM
I see this morning that the green and white trailer that marked the home of AnA Towing near the corner of Half and K is now gone. You may remember my post from Saturday that the lot has closed down and is moving to 2nd Street, SW; I didn't check to see if the trailer has been relocated to their new home. I'm not sure it technically qualifies as a "raze", but I've still added it as #137 on my Demolished Buildings page, making it the 27th building to disappear from Near Southeast in 2007. And I'm guessing that a few more will probably be gone before the end of the year--one definite candidate is the DC Foreign Car garage on K between Half and South Capitol, which was purchased in July for $7.6 million as part of Opus East's $41.5 million acquisition of the 1015 Half Street project, construction of which is expected to begin in October. And, as I recently posted, raze permits are in the pipeline for the old Capper Seniors building at 601 L Street and the low-rise structures on First between M and N.

Towing Company Leaves Near Southeast
Aug 18, 2007 1:51 PM
The departure of "light industrial uses" from Near Southeast continues, as within the past week or so AnA Towing has closed its lot on Half Street between I and K. A sign is posted indicating that they've moved to 1620 2nd Street, SW, down in Buzzards Point--which did not please the two young folk I ran into who were there trying to claim their car at the old lot. AnA's block was purchased back in April for $64 milliion by Transwestern subsidiary DRI Development, who have posted signs announcing an office/retail project. With the clearing out first of the firewood company at 1st and I and now AnA, this leaves just Four Star Cab and Merritt Cab at First and K occupying the block. No word yet on when the DRI project (99 I Street) might get underway. You can see my Square 696/99 I Street page for photos and more information. (UPDATED to correct the appellation of "AnA.")

Photos Updated Again
Aug 5, 2007 6:13 PM
I couldn't bear the icky gray photos I had to post last week with the overcast weather, so I went out again this morning and took a new batch of icky gray photos. So check the main Stadium Exterior Construction Gallery as well as the north/south/east/west additional views. The most striking change at the stadium in the last week is the work near Half and N on the west parking garage, which now has its fake limestone facade that matches the stadium.
I also added a couple shots of the Douglass Bridge extreme makeover, although this time there aren't really any new pictures of the bridge, but some updated shots of South Capitol Street, which has now been paved from the freeway south almost to P Street. (And kudos to the nice construction worker who told me about "this really cool site on the web" that's tracking the construction.) I also updated a few shots on my main South Capitol Street page (the first comparison is the most striking). Both of these pages are getting away from me a bit, and so are going to need some TLC to clean them up during this August lull, but today I opted for speed.
And I also updated the Onyx on First and 70/100 I Street pages again, with Onyx now having another floor added in the last week. And I managed to find a couple new 70 I angles to make up for my lack of access to I Street. (Speaking of I Street, I should note that in the past few weeks the old firewood lot that will eventually be part of the 99 I Street development has been cleared out. And, for that matter, I don't think I've mentioned that digging has truly begun at JPI's 909 New Jersey Ave. residential project.)
You can also just browse all of today's photos on a single page, and click the Click to see all available photos of this location. icon if you want to see older photos in the archive of a certain location.

Square 696 Sold for $69.4 Million
Jun 3, 2007 2:57 PM
Thanks to the latest update of the DC Property Sales database, I can now report that the entire block known as Square 696 (bounded by 1st, I, K, and Half) changed hands on April 12; the Pedas family sold its three lots, totaling 54,700 sq ft, for $49.834 million; Potomac Development Corporation received $19.544 million for the 19,600-sq-ft lot on the northeast corner of the block (home to a firewood business for many years). The database lists the buyer as "99 I Street SE LP"; we know from the signs that have gone up that the square is being developed as an office/retail project by DRI Development Services (a wholly owned subsidiary of Transwestern). No details yet on exactly what's coming, or when. (And a hat tip to the Pedas family, who adds this $49.8 million take to the $51.6 million payday they were part of when Ron Cohen bought Square 699N one block to the south in Sept. 2005 and the $4.5 million garnered from their sale of the Domino's lot at the corner of South Capitol and M in August 2005. Apparently you can make some money in this real estate biz.)
With this transaction now official, I've created a DRI/99 I Street page, with not-terribly-exciting photos of the block and my previous news items, and have added it to my main map and project directory.

DRI Project Taking Up Entire Block?
May 11, 2007 6:21 PM
Just a small update on the movement that appears to be happening on Square 696, which is the block bounded by 1st, Half, I, and K that is currently home to a firewood lot, a towing company, and a car repair shop. I mentioned a week ago that "DRI Development Office/Retail" signs appeared on the fence surrounding the firewood lot at 1st and I--within the last day or two, the same signs are now hanging on the southwest corner of the block (at Half and K). I have no more word on what's transpiring in this spot (believe me, I'm trying), but this could be what the Washington Business Journal was talking about in a recent piece when it mentioned "a block on the corner of Half and K" being "among the handful of property sales in the developing ballpark district as high valuations lure the current crop of owners to sell." The four parcels on the block have been owned up to now by the Pedas family (who sold Square 699N one block to the south in 2005) and also Potomac Development Corporation, and there's no indication yet in the land records of any sales. This is a big block, as the four parcels total around 74,000 square feet--with I Street likely to become a prime east-west artery across South Capitol through Southeast and Southwest, and with JPI's two residential projects going up directly to its north and east, it's a location that I've been surprised hasn't sprouted any projects sooner. More as soon as I get it.

Updates from Here and There
May 6, 2007 5:23 PM
Let's see.... The most interesting news of the day is that, as of 2:00 this afternoon, there were already folks camping out in front of the Capitol Quarter sales office, six days ahead of the next offering of five market-rate townhouses. Next, I took some new photos of the Nation demolition (which is not exactly proceeding with lightning speed)--check either my 1015 Half Street page for the basics, or the Photo Archive for Half and K and Half and L for additional shots. I also updated with what might be my final M Street photos for the DOT HQ, recording that both New Jersey and 4th Street are now open to traffic south of M (a couple weeks after the stoplights were turned on). And I took photos of the new DRI sign at 1st and I (though the photos don't show them real well, and one's already falling down)--they say "DRI Development Services, LLC | A Transwestern Company | Office/Retail." Still trying to get some info on what's coming there. Anyway, you can poke around those pages, or you can look at all the photos from today that I've posted and then click on the intersection/direction links to compare today's shots to what that view has looked like over the past few years.

Another New Development North of M?
May 5, 2007 4:00 PM
Today I saw for the first time new signs hung on the fence surrounding the firewood lot on the southwest corner of 1st and I Streets, emblazoned with "DRI Development/Office and Retail" (or some such). I have absolutely no information on this--this lot has been owned for quite some time by the Potomac Development Corporation, but I don't see any records as of yet in the online public records to indicate a sale has taken place, so perhaps it's a joint venture. Or not. I don't know. Anyway, I'll try to see what I can find out (whispers in my ear always welcome!), and hopefully some light can be shed on perhaps ANOTHER project getting started in the North of M section of Near Southeast, to go along with JPI's two residential towers, ADC Builders' Square 699N, Faison's Onyx on First condos, and Opus East's 100 M office building (and maybe the Nation site, too?), and perhaps something on the Sunoco lot by Monument Realty.


            JD's Photos            Square 696 News Items            




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