Square 698 is two blocks north of the new Nationals ballpark. Square 698/SC1100

Square 698 is one city block, bounded by South Capitol Street, L Street, M Street, and Half Street. Its southeast corner is now home to the 20 M Street office building, completed in 2007. Also planned is SC1100, a 350,000-sq-ft office building at 1100 South Capitol Street with no current timeline for construction. The St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, opened in 1905, sits at South Capitol and M. The block's northeast corner currently houses the chiller plant for the Navy Yard Metro station; Metro's plans to jointly develop the site have continued to be delayed.

Links:
1100 South Capitol (Ruben Companies Web Site)
WMATA Joint Development Proposal for Navy Yard Chiller Plant (Sept. 2006)
JDLand's 20 M Street Info and Photos
JD's Square 698 News Items & Additional Links


            SC1100            More Square 698 Photos            Square 698 News Items            

JDLand Blog Posts on this Project
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Three Bids Received for WMATA Navy Yard Chiller Plant Site
Mar 25, 2014 12:25 PM
WBJ reports today that three developers have submitted proposals to WMATA for projects on what's known as the Navy Yard Chiller Plant site, on the southwest corner of Half and L, SE.
Sayeth Michael Neibauer: "Akridge wants to build office there. Trammell Crow has bid to construct a residential building, as has a joint venture of MRP Realty and CAS Riegler. All three buildings feature ground floor retail."
Apparently the next step will be public forums "to gauge community interest" in the proposals, and WBJ says that Metro is looking to make selections as soon as mid-summer.
This is not the first time that WMATA has looked to redevelop this 14,000-sq-ft parcel, but a two-year negotiation with Donatelli broke off in 2010 when the developer pulled the plug on a planned 84-unit condo building, saying that the neighborhood was "getting saturated" with residential and that "it didn't look like condominiums were a viable alternative."
WMATA has been looking to get this lot developed since 2006, and you can relive all the twists and turns through my many posts on the subject.
Most likely any developer chosen would buy the 7,700-sq-ft lot with the two-story building next door (which has a big For Sale sign draped on its western side) to expand the site. (That building has quite a history, for those who weren't around for my post on it back in 2010.)

Late Monday Tidbits: Starting 2014 Off Right (Kind Of)
Jan 6, 2014 6:47 PM
Trying to start 2014 off right--even if it means posting a few things I didn't quite get to in 2013.
* ANC: Ed Kaminski has resigned as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 6D02, the area basically from the ballpark northward to the south side of I Street. A special election will be in the offing before too long.
* METRO: Via CapBiz, Metro has put out "development concepts" for the five station sites it is touting to developers. However, when it came to the Navy Yard/Chiller Plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L, there were no pretty drawings, just a suggestion to acquire the privately owned lot next door, and that maybe a project with ground-floor retail would be nice, too. If you want to know the increasingly long history of WMATA's attempts to find a developer for this land (and get a new chiller plant as part of the deal), here's some reading for you.
* BALLPARK SQUARE: New fence signage along 1st Street north of Nats Park touting the Ballpark Square residential/hotel/retail development, "delivering in late 2015." There do appear to be building permits for the residential and hotel parts of the development currently working through the pipeline, though there is No Time To Lose to hit that "late 2015" date (and co-developer McCaffery hedges a bit with "early 2016"). I will note, though, that there is something kind of missing in the rendering shown on the fence signage. (Hint: It's L-shaped, and is by a different developer, and is supposed to start soon too.)
* WAYBACK: The Hill is Home's "Lost Capitol Hill" series looks at the Anacostia Engine House, located at 8th and Virginia for most of the years from 1839 until the glorious arrival of the Southeast Freeway in the 1960s.
* NO, REALLY: My latest excuse explanation for my decreased blogging output. (Though if you follow JDLand on Facebook or Twitter, you already know this.)

WMATA Looking for Chiller Plant Developers - Again
Nov 5, 2013 9:53 AM
The Post's CapBiz section reported yesterday that "In an effort to take advantage of some of the boom in development near public transit, Metro launched a search Monday for companies interested in building on properties the transit agency owns at five of its stations: Brookland, Navy Yard, Fort Totten, Grosvenor-Strathmore and Morgan Boulevard."
The Navy Yard-Ballpark land the transit agency is looking to develop is a bit to the north of the station's Half Street entrance, and is known as the Chiller Plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L.
While this sounds like positive progress to those who are wanting to see that corner developed, I do invite readers to come with me on a trip through the JDLand archives:
* Donatelli, WMATA Break Off Chiller Site Plans (Aug. 2010)
So, while it would be keen to see some movement on the 14,000-sq-ft site, it might be wise to not break out the backhoes just yet.

Donatelli, WMATA Break Off Chiller Site Plans
Aug 20, 2010 9:06 AM
It was only a few weeks ago that I discovered (much to my embarrassment) that WMATA had been negotiating for nearly two years with Donatelli Development for the rights to build on the southwest corner of Half and L, on the Navy Yard station's "chiller site." Metro's web site on the proposed plan said that the development agreement is now "expected to be executed in the summer of 2010."
However, the WashBizJournal reports today (subscribers only) that the two have now "cut ties," with Donatelli receiving a certified letter from WMATA ending the deal. The article says that, while originally Donatelli proposed 84 apartments with 5,300 square feet of ground-floor retail, the development company last year tried to "reframe the project" as a boutique hotel, but couldn't find financing. WBJ quotes Donatelli as saying "There are too many apartments there already[.] The whole area was getting saturated, and it didn't look like condominiums were a viable alternative," which brought a "perplexed" response from Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID: "We think [residential has] been one of the greatest successes of our neighborhood[.] Mr. Donatelli does this for a living, but I don't know what numbers he's looking at."
WMATA says that they won't be putting the small-ish 14,000-square-foot site immediately back on the market for development. (Note that the parcel housing the taxi company at 37 L is not part of the WMATA land.) The lot has office buildings 20 M and 1015 Half to its south and north, and (eventually) 1100 South Capitol to its west.

Metro and Donatelli Negotiating (Still!) for 'Chiller Plant' Site Development at Half and L, SE
Jun 30, 2010 2:01 PM
Today WMATA sent out a press release touting a new web page highlighting its "dozens" of current and recently completed Transit Oriented development projects. And lo and behold, on the page for the Navy Yard "Chiller Plant" site on the southwest corner of Half and L, we find out that Metro has been negotiating a development agreement with Donatelli Development since the summer of 2008 (!) to build an 84-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail on the 14,000-square-foot site. Metro would continue to own the land and would receive lease income from the site, while Donatelli would be responsible for incorporating two new, larger, 350-ton chillers within the project (so that everyone down in both the Navy Yard and Waterfront-SEU Metro stations stay nice and climate-controlled).
Metro says that this stalled development agreement is now "expected to be executed in the summer of 2010," with a lease between the companies to be signed about 18 months after that, once all development and construction permits are obtained. They say "late 2013" is when the project would open. At right is a rendering from the WMATA site of the proposed building. (Note that the footprint of this project does not include the cab company building just to the west at 37 L.)
(And yes, I'm hanging my head in shame for not knowing about this. I knew that Metro was negotiating with *someone*, but had never heard who, and figured it fell through as time passed with no announcement. Maybe I'll take all of August off as punishment.)

Sunday Rearview Mirror: The 1977 Cinema Follies Fire
Jun 6, 2010 2:47 PM
(For someone who graduated from college with a degree in history, I have done a lousy job over the years of documenting the history of Near Southeast with anything approaching the zeal of my coverage of its present and future. I can offer no good excuses, but I'm going to begin to rectify this with a new series, "Sunday Rearview Mirror." I don't pretend to have the level of knowledge or experience of the pre-ballpark era as those who passed through Near Southeast during those years, but hopefully by taking the time every so often to highlight and describe events from the past I can help make sure that the new residents and workers who only recently heard of Near Southeast have some awareness of the people and events that came before them.)
It was in the 1970s that the western edge of Near Southeast became home to a new entertainment district for the city's gay residents, with its remoteness and lack of nearby residences allowing some measure of freedom for a culture that was only just beginning to step out of the closet. The area between South Capitol and First streets--with clubs like the Lost and Found, Club Baths II, Grand Central, Waaay off Broadway and Washington Square--became home not only to nightclubs with dancing and music but also but bathhouses, x-rated movie cinemas, and strip clubs. One of the new clubs was the Cinema Follies, which opened in 1975 at 37 L St., SE, showing x-rated gay films.
On Oct. 24, 1977, an explosion on the ground floor triggered by cleaning chemicals started a fire, with flames quickly consuming carpeting and wall hangings, blocking the exit for the patrons who had been in the 50-seat second floor theater. The fire never reached the second floor, but the smoke quickly became overpowering. However, a door that led to the roof was padlocked, and the windows had been replaced with cinderblocks. According to the Washington Post's account, "most of the victims were found in the orange-and-black theater seats [...] and may have been overcome by the smoke before they realized what was happening."
Nine people died as a result of the fire, making it the deadliest fire in Washington DC up to that time, a mark that stood until a fire at an unlicensed group home on Lamont Street, NW, killed 10 in April 1979. Identification of those who died at the Follies was hampered by the fact that, as the Post reported, "Many homosexuals do not carry identification when they visit homosexual gathering places," being "wary about the possibility of jeopardizing jobs or social position by having nonhomosexuals learn of their sexual orientation" in case their presence at club might be made public "through a police raid or other event."
(An interesting sidelight to the issue of identification was a column by Post ombudsman Charles Seib soon after the fire, questioning the Post's decision to not use the full names of some of those who died and no names at all of the injured. The column quoted then-Managing Editor Howard Simon as saying that the paper's main motivation was "compassion for the wives and children" [since some of the victims were married] but Seib went on to ask whether this approach had the effect of "underscoring the stigma of homosexuality, of shoving it back in the closet at a time when efforts are being made to bring it out and address it as a social fact?" This is an issue that papers still clearly struggle with, even today.)
William Oates, the manager of the club, was eventually fined $650 in 1979 for violating four building codes, though city officials stated that Oates "did everything possible" to try to comply with the laws, but poor city record keeping and poorly written codes made it difficult. (The city did work to strengthen its codes in the wake of the fire.) However, nearly eight years after the fire, in September of 1985, families of four of the victims were awarded more than $1.5 million in a civil suit against the club's owners.
Within a year or the fire, Oates opened "The Follies" at its new location at 24 O St., SE, where it operated until it was demolished with many other gay nightclubs in May 2006 to make way for Nationals Park. Somewhat amazingly, the building where the Cinema Follies fire took place, which was not all that heavily damaged, still stands today, on L Street directly across from the under-construction 1015 Half office building. It's currently home to a cab company.
I plan to write more Rear-View Mirror entries in the future about the neighborhood's past as a nightclub district, but until then, this 2003 pamphlet by the Rainbow History Project gives a great overview of the clubs that used to be such an integral part of Washington's gay culture. Hard to believe that, when the pamphlet was written, the authors had no idea how little time the existing clubs had left.

No Bids at 23 I Foreclosure Sale; Land Now Owned by Ruben Companies
Oct 13, 2009 10:40 AM
I attended my first-ever foreclosure sale this morning (yay...?), where the two lots at 23 I Street (the old Wendy's site) that JPI had purchased in 2007 for $28.6 million were to be auctioned off after JPI defaulted on its $25 million loan. However, there were no bidders for the 47,000-sq-ft piece of land (which doesn't include the Exxon next door), and so the property is now owned by Ruben Companies, which bought the original note from Key Bank earlier this year.
Ruben Cos. also owns the 1100 South Capitol lot (plus 1101 South Capitol, across the street and outside of my boundaries), and had at one point been working to purchase the St. Matthew's Church land at New Jersey and L before opting out.
The company has no plans to build anything soon on the 23 I lot--but if anyone's interested in renting the land for some interim entertainment use (a la Akridge's deal with the Bullpen on Half Street and even the trapeze school at the Yards), Ruben says they'd be willing to listen. Maybe the neighborhood could get a putt-putt course or something!

Dreary Thursday Links Roundup
Jun 18, 2009 9:42 AM
* The news about perhaps paying for the convention center by taking money from various in-the-pipeline projects around the city has generated a lot of comment, not only here but in the form of a letter from Monty Hoffman of PN Hoffman to Chairman Gray in which he said that moving funds away from the planned redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront "would be a horrific business, legal, and community tragedy for the city." And SWDC Blog is reporting this morning that Kwame Brown says the list in the original WBJ article was of all tax-increment-financing plans approved by the City Council, which might be a wider list than just projects from which funds could be diverted.
* Roll Call has a piece on the "slow-to-develop" Capitol Riverfront neighborhood: "Today, visitors to the stadium emerge from the Metro onto an almost empty street flanked by tall fences. Billions of dollars of real estate is planned for the area, but for now, it only offers a few half-empty buildings and the occasional fast-food restaurant." But there is this as well: "The buildings aren't all empty. BID estimates that about 1,600 people live in the area, leasing about half of the available apartments. Office buildings hold about 35,000 workers; Opus East, for example, has leased 50 percent of the units for its new building at 100 M St. SE." (Full disclosure: I'm quoted a few times.)
* On the flip side, a just-released CBRE report on the impact of the federal stimulus package on the DC and Baltimore region says: "The commercial real estate industry has begun to see an impact from the transportation-related stimulus activities. Government contractors are actively touring office buildings in the Capitol Riverfront submarket of Washington, DC, home to the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Transportation, for new growth related to stimulus-funded contracts. These tours are noteworthy as the submarket has seen limited interest over the first six months of the year as a result of the national and local economic recessions." We're also still waiting to hear which federal agency might be about to lease 100,000-sq-ft of space at 20 M, and whether Booz Allen Hamilton is taking 30,000 sq ft at 55 M or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
* And, if you saw a boat full of partying real estate professionals cruising up the Anacostia on Tuesday, it was the Urban Land Institute Washington's annual boat tour, which took the Odyssey from the Southwest Waterfront up to the Yards and then back toward Rosslyn and Georgetown.
* The news of the day gave the Republicans some trouble in the bullpen at last night's Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. And the GOP's woes in Washington continued, with the Democrats winning the game for the first time in eight years, 15-10.
* I forgot to post this last week: M.L. Clark Real Estate, which negotiated the deal for the city to sublet 225 Virginia Avenue, is going out of business, says WBJ, with its two brokers moving to Cassidy & Pinkard.
* A reminder that this Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm is the Third Annual Ward 6 Family Day.

Tenants Coming to 20 M and 55 M?
Jun 5, 2009 12:17 PM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only), news that two as-yet-unoccupied office buildings in Near Southeast may be close to securing tenants. WBJ says that Monument Realty is "in discussions" with Booz Allen Hamilton to lease more than 30,000 square feet of space at 55 M (currently home to Artomatic), though Booz is apparently also looking at Lerner's 20 M across the street and the under-construction 1015 Half a block to the north.
The article also says that an "undisclosed federal agency is on the cusp of announcing" a 100,000-sq-ft lease at 20 M. I have heard murmurings of some outfit moving to 20 M--if someone wants to whisper in my ear who it is, I'm listening!

Metro Board to Vote on N22 Bus Changes
Sep 22, 2008 1:47 PM
As I wrote a few days back, there are apparently plans to add a DC Circulator bus route in spring 2009 that would run between Union Station, the new US Capitol Vistors' Center (if it ever actually opens), and the Navy Yard station entrance at New Jersey and M (two blocks from Nationals Park). Since it would run on a similar route to Metro's N22 bus, Metro would then discontinue the N22, a move which requires a public hearing. So, on the agenda for this Thursday's WMATA board meeting is an item to both authorize the scheduling of the public meeting and also to amend Metro's FY09 budget to extend through March 2009 the current N22 service, which was expanded to evenings and weekends just before Opening Day as a way to move people to and from the ballpark. Here is more information detailing the agenda item.
One thing the board will not be voting on this week is the selection of a developer for the Navy Yard station's chiller plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L. Back in July there were discussions by WMATA's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee in executive session about this selection, but nothing has been announced publicly and no items on the chiller site are on any of Thursday's agendas. Waaah.

No Chiller Site Developer Yet; Other Tidbits
Jul 25, 2008 10:17 AM
* No big news out of yesterday's WMATA board meetings--the board gave Metro staff the go-ahead to negotiate a deal with a developer for the 14,000-sq-ft Navy Yard chiller plant site at Half and L, but didn't say in public session who the developer is or what the project might be. The only tidbits in the resolutions were that the project should be LEED certified and that it should be required to make a contribution to the city's affordable housing fund (both of which, I believe, would be the case anyway given the city's new green building and inclusionary zoning laws unless there's some WMATA loophole I'm unaware of).
* I imagine all the local blogs will be talking about this AP story today on DC's levee system. To tie it to the neighborhood, one of the things currently happening at the Yards is that they're building up the ground level in places to make sure that it's above the 100-year flood plain.
* What's the Sports and Entertainment Commission doing now that the ballpark has opened? The WashTimes takes a look.
* The Nationals have announced their promotions and ticket packages for the rest of the season. They'll finally be back at home starting Tuesday after what seems like forever. See my Events Calendar for the schedule of home games through the end of the season.
* NBC4 interviews one of the coworkers of the two men killed on the open-top bus on the way to Nationals Park.
* DC Metrocentric focuses on Near Southeast by pelting me with questions.
* Off-topic, but readers might be interested in this WashTimes overview of the plans for and the current status of redevelopment in Southwest.

Navy Yard Station Chiller Site Decision Thursday?
Jul 21, 2008 10:35 AM
The agendas for Thursday's various Metro board meetings have been posted, and, barring a last-minute change, it looks like the Planning, Development and Real Estate committee will finally be taking up the awarding of the Half and L "chiller plant" site for the Navy Yard Metro station to a developer. It's going to happen in an executive session (the agenda says nothing more than "Term Sheet on Navy Yard Chiller Site"), so it could be possible it's not yet a done deal. They've been trying to bring this up at the board since February; the solicitation for bids for the 14,100-sq-ft site happened nearly two years ago.

Navy Yard Metro Chiller Site Developer Selection Pushed Back Again
Jun 20, 2008 3:32 PM
It's now becoming almost a monthly occurrence, watching for the WMATA Planning, Development, and Real Estate Committee agendas to be posted, to then find that the agenda item for naming a developer for the Navy Yard subway station's 14,000-sq-ft "chiller plant" site on the southwest corner of Half and L has been pushed to a "subsequent agenda"--and it's now happened again, with a July 24 date now attached to it. (It was last marked for June 26.) This site would be a joint development between WMATA and whoever gets chosen, and beyond that there's no hints as to what sort of development it could be, or whether they'd try to acquire the Empire Cab company next door on L. You can read all my previous entries on the chiller plant here--and I bet you didn't know that the blog has such a spiffy search interface!

Metro Board Talking About Monument Suit Again; Chiller Site May Get Developer in June
May 20, 2008 9:25 AM
Just like last month, the agenda for the WMATA board of directors meetings this Thursday includes an executive session, and in that executive session is the agenda item "Legal Issues - Monument vs. WMATA." For those of you just joining us, this lawsuit is a result of the bidding process for the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M that awarded the site to Akridge for $69 million--Monument argued that they were supposed to have first dibs on the site after being named "master developer" by the city. A judge awarded a preliminary injunction on the sale in February, saying that Monument has "demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that they were substantially prejudiced when WMATA considered Akridge's nonresponsive bid and participated in improper ex parte discussions with Akridge." I never heard about anything coming out of last month's board executive session when this was supposed to be discussed; perhaps there will be some action needing to be taken this time outside of executive session to give us a hint.
There's nothing else of Near Southeast-interest in the other WMATA board meetings on Thursday, but the Subsequent Agenda for the Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee says that its June 26 meeting will include an action item for approving the term sheet on the Navy Yard Chiller Site at Half and L. A joint development solicitation for this 14,100-sq-ft site was released back in September of 2006. A "developer selection" was supposed to be on the board's agenda back in January, but then disappeared; we'll see if this June item actually holds. The 2006 solicitation described WMATA as "looking for innovative plans . . . that will yield quality developments for the local communities, increase transit ridership, enhance the local tax base and provide a stream of revenue to WMATA for capital needs." Proposals were also supposed to follow the principles of "transit-oriented development" -- "providing safe, walkable, mixed-use communities that emphasize transit connections and reduce auto dependency." While doing all that, the site's developer would still have to replace the chiller operations either on site or somewhere close to the Navy Yard station.

Roundup: Pope Tix, Bus Garage, Cancellations
Feb 26, 2008 8:38 AM
* The Post says that 14,000 tickets to the April 17 Mass at Nationals Park will be distributed to 120 Catholic diocese outside of the Archdiocese of Washington, with the Diocese of Arlington getting 6,000 and the Archdiocese of Baltimore getting 2,500. And on Friday, parishes that are part of the Archdiocese of Washington will find out how many tickets they're getting--parish priests will then decide how to distribute tickets within the parish.
* The Examiner has a story about the Southeastern Bus Garage site and that the Nationals and Metro are in talks to provide 350 gameday parking spaces at the garage (plus three nearby WMATA-owned parking lots, though that's not specified in the article). The only real news in the article is that a judge is expected to rule this week on Monument Realty's lawsuit over the sale of the garage site to Akridge. For more background, read all my posts on the bus garage saga.
* Yesterday's scheduled council hearing on Monument's request to close the alley on Square 700 just north of the closed BP Amoco station was cancelled. No new session has been posted on the calendar.
* And the agenda for Thursday's WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee does not include anything on the joint development of the chiller plant site at Half and L, as had been anticipated back in January. Maybe next month?
* If you think you're excited about the local food vendors at the ballpark announced yesterday, you should read Marc Fisher.
* UPDATE: I've gotten word that the long article in the March Washingtonian on the ballpark is now online. The other related article, about residential developments planned around the stadium, won't be posted for a couple of weeks. So you'll just have to go buy it, I guess. And perhaps you too can then be like the poor soul at Safeway on Sunday reading that article, who got accosted by a pesky blogger in line in front of him pointing to a name on the page, saying, "That's me." Thankfully he didn't call security.

WMATA Choosing Developer for Half and L Chiller Site
Jan 9, 2008 8:51 AM
Back in September 2006, WMATA solicited proposals to develop four of its properties, including the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station at New Jersey and M and the 14,100-square-foot parcel on the southwest corner of Half and L streets, SE, where the Navy Yard Metro station's "chiller" is located. While the sale of the New Jersey Avenue land to Donohoe was approved by the WMATA board in December, there hasn't been even a smidgen of news about the chiller site in more than a year.
But now, nestled deep in the posted paperwork for Thursday's WMATA board meetings is an expected agenda for the Feb. 14 meeting of the Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee that lists "Navy Yard Station Chiller Site Developer Selection" as one of the action items. Citing the ongoing negotiations, Metro wouldn't give me any additional information, so we may have to wait for Valentine's Day for the "reveal," unless someone blabs beforehand. Once the mystery developer's section is approved by the WMATA board, the final negotiations for an agreement would begin. The property is currently assessed at just under $4 million.
The solicitation described WMATA as "looking for innovative plans . . . that will yield quality developments for the local communities, increase transit ridership, enhance the local tax base and provide a stream of revenue to WMATA for capital needs." Proposals were also supposed to follow the principles of "transit-oriented development" -- "providing safe, walkable, mixed-use communities that emphasize transit connections and reduce auto dependency." While doing all that, the site's developer would still have to replace the chiller operations either on site or somewhere close to the Navy Yard station.
There's also a 7,700-square-foot privately owned parcel next to the chiller on L Street, assessed at $1.72 million and currently home to the Empire and DC Flyer Cab Company. It has had "Build to Suit" signs flying for quite some time, so it's possible that the developer of the chiller site could acquire that land as well. And this spot is already surrounded by current and planned office projects, with the completed 20 M Street and the planned 1100 South Capitol on adjoining lots, and the starting-any-minute-now 1015 Half Street across L Street. See my Square 698 page for photos.

NPR Looking at Near Southeast (and Elsewhere) for New Home
Nov 16, 2007 6:18 PM
Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal reports that National Public Radio is looking for 400,000 square feet of office space for a new headquarters to replace their current location on Massachusetts Avenue. In addition to sites in NoMa and Silver Spring, the article lists possible Near Southeast locations 1015 Half Street, 1100 South Capitol, and.... 225 Virginia Avenue? The site for which the city signed a long-term lease last year when it planned to move the the Metropolitan Police Department there, before that plan fell apart in late summer? Is this just a mistake by the reporter, or is this a hint at bigger news afoot about the future of the old Post Plant?
Maybe those Capitol views are particularly enticing to the media--two months ago the WBJ reported that CNN is also looking at 1015 Half, 1100 South Capitol, and Lerner Enterprises' proposed building at 1000 South Capitol. (The lower prices on commercial real estate in this part of town probably don't hurt, either.)

Rendering of 1100 South Capitol, and New Page
Sep 28, 2007 10:30 AM
The fine folks at Ruben Companies have passed along to me a rendering of its planned 350,000-sq-ft office building at 1100 South Capitol, now dubbed "SC1100." With that in hand, I've created a page for both SC1100 and the rest of the block it will occupy, known by the cool land-record kids as Square 698, and have added it to my main map. Ruben also now has a page about the project on its redesigned web site. There's no timeline as yet for the start of construction.

CNN Looking at Three Near Southeast Sites
Sep 14, 2007 9:09 AM
Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (online for subscribers only) reports that CNN, wanting 80,000-100,000 sq ft of space to upgrade its studios, is looking at three in-development office buildings in Near Southeast: Opus East's 440,000-sq-ft 1015 Half Street, at the old Nation site, which is scheduled to begin construction in October; Lerner's 320,000-sq-ft 1000 South Capitol right next door, which has no announced start date; and Ruben Companies' 350,000-sq-ft 1100 South Capitol, one block to the south. "Sources familiar with the search say the sites were picked for their views of the Capitol, access to transportation and the opportunity to build a structure designed to fit CNN's needs instead of retrofitting an existing building." It should be noted that WBJ also wrote back in late March that CNN (and other companies) were looking at Near Southeast.

South Capitol Street Exxon Closing Soon
Aug 29, 2007 11:11 PM
Signs posted in the windows of the Exxon at 1001 South Capitol Street say that the station is closing. (See, I do look across the median into Southwest once in a while.) No date is mentioned on the signs, though I've heard rumors that it's within the next few days, and that the lot has been sold to an unnamed buyer. It might be worth noting--or it might not be--that Ruben Companies owns the other two lots on the block next to the Exxon. Ruben also owns the former KFC/Taco Bell lot in the next block, and the 1100 South Capitol property across the street. If you're looking for cheap cigarettes, the signs at the Exxon say they've got 'em!

More on the Sale of the Former KFC/Taco Bell Site
Aug 6, 2007 11:13 PM
About a month ago I posted about the closure of the combo Kentucky Fried Chicken/Taco Bell at 1101 South Capitol Street, SW, noting that the site had been purchased in late May for $5.5 million by "URA Ventures", another name for Urban Realty Advisors. So, when I saw a couple days ago the signs that have now gone up at the site (on the corner of South Capitol and L) touting leasing opportunities, with "Ruben Companies" in big letters at the top, I was a little a'skeered I had screwed up. But with some e-mail inquiries and some digging in the DC Land Records (you all owe me $8), I've determined that URA borrowed the bucks from Ruben Capital Holdings to buy the site. So they're one big happy co-venture. According to the folks at Ruben, long-term plans for the site call for an office building.
This deal helps the Ruben folks to corner the market on properties on the southern two corners of South Capitol and L, since they are also developing a 350,000-sq-ft office building across the street at 1100 South Capitol. (Ruben also owns two-thirds of Square 648, bounded by South Capitol, L, Half, and K streets SW, but since neither of those two lots touch South Capitol Street, I'm blissfully ignoring them.)
While reading the deed from the KFC sale, I came across one paragraph that I'm sure is no surprise to folks in the biz but struck me as pretty funny. In completing the deal, the buyer agreed agree that, for the next 20 years, "no portion of the property shall be used for the operation of any facility deriving 25 percent or more of its gross sales of prepared food from the sale of (i) Mexican food; (ii) chicken or chicken products, including without limitation chicken wings; or (iii) pizza, pasta, Italian sandwiches, or other Italian food products; or (iv) hamburgers or (v) seafood. The foregoing food use restrictions shall not apply to: a) full-service, sit-down, dine-in restaurants, which offer alcoholic beverages and do not offer fast food over the counter or by means of a drive-through service or b) food service facilities which are intended for the use or convenience of tenants or occupants of improvements constructed on the property, or their guests or invitees, provided the food service provider shall not be a national or regional (i.e., more than 10 outlets) quick service restaurant concept." So, if you were hoping for a new fast-food joint in that spot, you're going to be disappointed.

Commercial Real Estate News in Near Southeast
Jun 22, 2007 1:03 PM
Today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal has an article summing up what's going on right now with various commercial projects around Near Southeast. (The online article is for subscribers only for the first 30 days; sorry.) Here are the new items:
* William C. Smith is planning to hold off breaking ground on its 200,000-sq-ft building at 250 M Street until it pre-leases at least 30% of the building.
* Opus East has leased 80,000 sq ft at 100 M Street (33% of the building) to government contractor Parsons Corp.
* Lerner's 20 M Street does not as yet have any office tenants.
* It also mentions that Opus East is planning to build the 440,000-sq-ft office building at 1015 Half Street (the old Nation site) on spec; but it should be noted that Opus hasn't yet officially announced its purchase of this property or its plans.
(The article also summarizes what's going on at Florida Rock, using some source materials that are hard to find anywhere other than here at JDLand. Note to reporters and other professionals using my site: yup, lots of stuff is posted here, and it's all free, but be a grownup and say where you found it.)
In addition, there's an ad in the print edition giving us our first peek at the Shalom Baranes design for 1100 South Capitol Street, Ruben Companies's planned 350,000 sq ft office building on the southeast corner of South Capitol and L. There's currently no timeline for development of this project.
The print edition also has a piece written by GSA about the US Department of Transportation completing its move to its new headquarters at New Jersey and M. It describes the HQ's interiors and exteriors, and mentions that this project is the largest lease ever executed in DC.

ANC 6D December Meeting
Dec 12, 2006 4:38 PM
The agenda for last night's ANC 6D meeting wasn't made available before meeting time, so I decided to take a chance and skip the session (even though I normally adore subjecting myself to the psychological equivalent of having 2-inch nails driven into my eyeballs for a couple of hours). And it sounds like I picked a good one to miss, because my sources tell me that once again a fight over an alley closing dominated the proceedings, this time being another go-round on Monument Realty's 55 M Street project on the west side of Square 701. Monument was looking for the ANC's support in advance of their Jan. 11 Zoning Commission hearing; last night the ANC's commissioners voiced concerns (which were also voiced in the past when Monument asked for support for its alley closing bill) that Monument's proffered community benefits package is insufficient--as currently constructed, it includes a $10,000 contribution to the Southwest Neighborhood Association's Scholarship Fund, a $50,000 contribution to the local schools, and a commitment to set aside a certain percentage of the residential project for affordable housing. Monument's standpoint is that this project is a "Matter of Right" development, meaning that there is no requirement that they do anything for the community, but they are doing so, anyway. The discussion has been tabled until the ANC's January 8 meeting, and the commmissioners also passed a resolution asking the City Council to table the alley closing bill (which already passed unanimously last week on its first reading and is scheduled for its final reading and vote on Dec. 19) to allow negotiations to continue. In less fractious news, there was apparently a presentation by WMATA about its Joint Development Opportunities around the Navy Yard station, including their work with Monument at 55 M Street (on top of the Half Street station entrance) as well as the Chiller Plant at Half and L and a small bit of land near the New Jersey Avenue station entrance. Am hoping to get more information about this....

Deadline for WMATA Land Bids Approaching
Oct 30, 2006 10:15 AM
Today's Post writes about the two lots in Near Southeast that WMATA has announced will be made available for private development, the 14,000-sq-ft lot on the Southeast corner of Half and L and a 4,000-ft patch around the eastern entrance to the Navy Yard station at New Jersey and M. Not really too much in the piece that I didn't address in my own entry eight weeks ago when WMATA announced the search, but it's also a nice way to be able to post here that the deadline for developers to submit their proposals is Nov. 17. The article does mention, however, that sometimes these joint development opportunities don't always move like wildfire: "Once WMATA chooses a developer, the proposals must be reviewed by local jurisdictions and the Metro board. Getting the appropriate permits can be a lengthy process. Developers at the Prince George's Plaza Green Line station were selected by WMATA in 2000 but broke ground only last year."

1100 South Capitol Starts to Move Forward
Sep 14, 2006 9:05 AM
In June, The Lawrence Ruben Company added to the 24,000-sq-ft lot it has owned at the corner of South Capitol and L since 2004, paying (according to DC land records) $4.843 million to buy 9,000 sq ft of the St. Vincent de Paul church's parking lot. I'm told the Ruben Co. has hired the Shalom Baranes architecture firm (which is also working on the huge Southeast Federal Center project) to design a 330,000-sq-ft office building for this location (1100 South Capitol Street). Most likely, Ruben will not move forward on construction until they sign a tenant for the building. Check my North of M page (and it's spiffy new map!) to see what other projects are on the boards in this getting-ever-more-crowded section of Near Southeast.

WMATA Looking to Develop Two More Near Southeast Sites
Sep 2, 2006 9:43 AM
WMATA has released a Joint Development Solicitation for two sites in Near Southeast--the eastern entrance to the Navy Yard subway station at New Jersey and M, and the chiller plant on the southwest corner of Half and L. The sites would be offered for long-term leases, with the goal being Transit-Oriented Development: "safe, walkable, mixed-use communities that emphasize transit connections and reduce auto dependency." The 4.400-sq-ft New Jersey and M site is interesting because it butts up against Donohoe's planned 1111 New Jersey Avenue office building, and the JDS states: "The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has indicated a preference for the ground floor area around WMATAs eastern entrance to be an attractive public plaza, complimenting the new development in the area. In this case, development on the parcel would largely occur above the street level." I'm not sure how you create an attractive public plaza that has development above it.... I'm guessing that Donohoe will be quite interested in this land (and their rendering of 1111 NJ does indeed show a very nice plaza). As for the chiller site at Half and L, it's 14,100 square feet, with a 7,700-sq-ft privately owned strip right next to it that combined could allow for a 200,000-sq-ft development (just like 20 M Street just to its south). With two other parcels at the corner of Half and L ready to be developed (the Nation site and the Ron Cohen Square 699N project), I'd imagine this site will garner a fair amount of interest. Proposals are due to WMATA on Nov. 17.


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