Since January, 2003
 Sliding from Before to After

A press release from Donohoe posted on the Capitol Riverfront BID web site says that the development company is designing a 13-story, 310-unit apartment building on its 1111 New Jersey site, on top of the east entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station, and will be acquiring the St. Matthew's Baptist Church next door (seen in the photo at right).
An additional zoning approval is being sought in lieu of an outright change to the existing approvals for the long-planned 200,000-square-foot office building on the site, "to maintain flexibility as we evaluate options . . . for both office and residential uses."
The building, designed by WDG Architecture, would have a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom units, and approximately 9,000 square feet of retail, "almost" the same amount as the office building. There's an early rendering of what the new building could look like on the BID page. UPDATE: Donohoe passed along the image at left.
Donohoe bought the most of the site's land back in 2005, then purchased the remaining portion from WMATA. St. Matthew's has been close to being sold before, when Ruben Companies had a deal back in 2007 that never materialized. And Donohoe had been in discussions about acquiring the site before Ruben. What the acquisition of the church would mean if the office building is built is not clear (would the office building grow in size?).
If the apartment building does happen, it will be in line with other developers seeing the neighborhood as much more of a residential opportunity than when plans to revitalize the area first started being formulated. That and the fact that office leases are not very easy to come by these days.
Needless to say, no timeline at the present, beyond a trip through Zoning Land.
Comments (55)
 More About 1111 New Jersey/Insignia on M Home


conngs0 says: (6/27/12 2:05 PM)
As JD mentioned, it certainly isn't unusual for a developer to attempt to switch plans from an office building to a residential building. I'm curious about where the threshold is located for approving such changes though. Is it not universally accepted that a successful neighborhood should have a healthy mix of both residential and office space?

There is still quite a bit of office space planned just north of Nats Park and along South Capitol Street, which is a very sensible location given the appeal of proximity to a major roadway would have for businesses. So perhaps switching a few concepts to residential won't disturb the equillibrium too much, but there certainly has to be a point where the zoning commission starts denying these requests, no?

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (6/27/12 2:11 PM)
I would like to see more apartments than offices. There is a reason why the Starbucks on M and New Jersey closes very early. Even if a new retail opens (a retail other than bar), they will close very early before dawn because of the lack of customers after 7pm.

JD says: (6/27/12 2:16 PM)
I would think it would be more likely for the Zoning Commission to be concerned about too much office space in a neighborhood, compared to too much retail. (I remember back when the big concerns for the area were that M Street would be a "concrete canyon" of office buildings, bereft of people and activity after 5 pm and on weekends.)

This would be, though, the first residential building directly on M Street (except for the pre-existing 410 M Carroll Apartments). Even the north-of-Nats Park projects are all designed to have office buildings on M and residential buildings on N.

If I were good, I'd wander into the Capitol Gateway overlay text right now to see if there's any requirements on this. But I'm a bit swamped right now, so if someone else wants to....: link

JD says: (6/27/12 2:18 PM)
Though I should add that Twelve12 will also be on M.

JD says: (6/27/12 2:54 PM)
"compared to too much *residential." Oops.

straightoutof03 says: (6/27/12 4:09 PM)
Great, but at what point do we have the critical mass of residential units to get a Whole Foods in the neighborhood? Teeter has its limits.

F says: (6/28/12 12:11 AM)
Anyone know a good way for residents to ban together and let places like Whole Foods know that we'd welcome them? If a critical mass of residents expressed enough interest that may provide them an incentive to further investigate or possibly invest.

Ben in SE says: (6/28/12 8:52 AM)
There is a forum on the Whole Foods website that lets you suggest a store. Other grocers may have similar options.


Though WF already dipped its toe in our waters and bailed when they couldn't get a tax credit from the city.

Bob says: (6/28/12 9:57 AM)
If you want to know about wooing Whole Foods, get in touch with a local developer named Wayne Dickson who successfully got Whole Foods to open on P Street NW near Logan Circle. He's a good guy. He even got Jack Evans to get involved in the negotiations. That would be a great development project for Tommy.

Eric says: (6/28/12 12:45 PM)
Doubt WF will happen since they didn't get the tax abatement. I'd kill for a Trader Joe's instead of HT, though. There's a Harris Teeter over by Potomac Ave metro, not sure why another one on M street is popping up.

Ben in SE says: (6/28/12 1:06 PM)
Definitely a Trader Joe's, or this mythical Wegmans that everyone raves about.

conngs0 says: (6/28/12 1:25 PM)
Whole Foods would be nice, but I think that the neighborhood will be relying on Harris Teeter for quite awhile before another grocery store arrives. But if we're going to throw around some pie-in-the-sky ideas for grocery stores, how about Wegman's? That chain has so far resisted scaling down their store concept to fit urban areas, but there is quite a bit space in the Near Southeast, including the bottom floors of some of the larger buildings planned along South Capitol or at Half Street and M.

JD says: (6/28/12 1:52 PM)
I totally don't get the Whole Foods worship, around here or anywhere else.

I dig Wegman's, but they are clearly still a long ways off from ditching their suburban massive-parking-lot configurations.

Blue says: (6/28/12 2:56 PM)
I'd kill for an Eatzi's. HT - meh.

Maelstrom says: (6/28/12 3:04 PM)
Agree with JD - possibly take it further. Why do people like any of these trendy grocery stores (Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, etc.)? I grew up in the midwest so almost everything was a Giant Eagle. We had a "Heinen's" as the high class (read: pricey) store. Still, I'll take a Safeway or a Giant any day as long as it's clean.

straightoutof03 says: (6/28/12 3:07 PM)
Wegmans > Whole Foods, but I don't think they've figured out a way to make their business model work in the dense urban areas. I would love them to prove me wrong though.

PJY03 says: (6/28/12 3:57 PM)
People want Whole Foods because Whole Foods carries items that Teeter and Giant really don't.

Whole Foods has a real butcher that serves cuts of meat that people actually want to buy and are well sources (lamb chops, boston butt, grass fed fillets). Whole foods has a real seafood market where you can get wild fish, not "farm raised, color added" fish. Whole Foods has fruits and vegetables that are well-stocked and not highly picked over and rotten. They also have things like starfruits, persimmons, etc., that you just don't find stocked seasonally at a Harris Teeter on a regular basis.

Most WF folks aren't there over some notion about eating "organic" or something. They just have better food and knowledgeable staff.

Currently I shop at Eastern Market for many of the items I need (esp. meats and fish), which leaves me making essentially two grocery runs every week. Whole Foods would cut that down to one. I don't "require" a whole foods, but it'd be nice.

David Garber says: (6/29/12 2:20 PM)
I heard from yet another developer this morning that they have been in extensive conversations with Whole Foods, and they believe the grocer will Definitely open in the neighborhood -- but that their main concern right now is locating somewhere that isn't right next to the ballpark itself. At this point I am more curious about where exactly they'll locate in the neighborhood and when they'll arrive, than whether or not they will come. But don't have any more insider info at this point.

Ben in SE says: (6/29/12 2:30 PM)
That's great news, David!

Permit me to be selfish (as a resident of CHT), but one of the open corners on the intersection of K and NJ would be great.

Eric says: (6/29/12 2:49 PM)
Out of curiosity, why would being right next to the ballpark be bad?

JD says: (6/29/12 3:14 PM)
40,000 people next door at a baseball game would give potential shoppers second thoughts about swinging by the store 81 times a year.

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (6/29/12 5:16 PM)
@PjY03, thanks for explaining to the anti Whole food people out there. People with poor taste for good organic food don't really appreciate Whole food. Not every thing is expensive at whole foods. You can find red onions for $1.79 compared to $1.99 other places. The chicken that I buy at whole food tastes better than other grocery stores. They have different kind of lentils and the sardines..forget about it.

The Hoff says: (6/29/12 6:55 PM)
As a disclaimer I'd rather smoke a cigar than eat something called starfruit so take this with a grain of overpriced sea salt. People want Whole Foods here because of the perceived status it would bring to the area. Most of what you find there can be found locally at Eastern Market or otherwise, and while I would certainly enjoy the property value boost it might bring I won't be joining the masses lining up for wheat grass tortilla soup wax paper lentils. I don't mind the desire for it but the rationalization that it has cheaper and/or better food than what you find at local markets is not exactly sound.

PJY03 says: (6/29/12 7:23 PM)
Hoff, As I said, you very well can get great stuff at Eastern Market, but its just better to hit up whole foods than taking two trips (Teeter and EM, which is what many folks do now).

You don't have to be a foodie to appreciate the basics of having more food choices than whatever is being churned out of Hormel's factories. Maybe you won't shop there, but a lot of people do and will. They also have one of the best beer selections you'll find.

And all salt is "sea salt."

F says: (6/29/12 7:27 PM)
David- Thanks for providing context and communication. The possibility of a Whole Foods in the neighhborhood is encouraging to many on this baord as evidenced by the conversation. As one of our elected officials, I invite you to reach out to this group to help usher Whole foods into the area and let them know they have an eager audience.

I can't find substance in the anti-Whole Foods arguements presented. I like their quality and variety and, after all, anyone who doesn't like them already has plenty of other choices. The HT lovers must be in heavan right now. I like HT also, but wouldn't mind some more varity in a growing neighborhood.

Now that I know WF has wheat grass tortilla soup, I'll be standing in line on opening day!

Maelstrom says: (6/30/12 12:17 AM)
All of a sudden there is talk of Anti-Whole Foods people and people with poor taste in organic foods? Is this that strongly polarized? I'm not Anti-Whole foods by any case - I am apathetic about the store that sells me my food as long as the food is in decent condition. If whole foods was the closest store to my apartment, I would shop at whole foods. I do kind of take exception to the "poor taste for good organic food" comment though. Maybe I'll regret it when all of the pesticides and such in my food combine to make a super-plague, but last time I checked most food was composed of organic material and is therefore organic. Having a special certification doesn't make your food any more personally satisfying than mine.

MJM says: (6/30/12 10:44 AM)
Is this area becoming full of Hipsters who only shop at Whole Foods and have tiny dogs and resemble this video? Arlington: The Rap link

Ben in SE says: (6/30/12 11:33 AM)
I don't think that (Hipster) means what you think it means.

MJM says: (6/30/12 1:40 PM)
What do I think it means then? This: link

Eric says: (6/30/12 3:27 PM)
The Arlington Rap video is not about hipsters. MJM keeps saying hipsters... link

MJM says: (6/30/12 3:41 PM)
Enlightened me then please so I may understand the end of the world issues if we don't get a WFM and hipsters :)

Maelstrom says: (6/30/12 5:49 PM)
If we do get hipsters, let's just start putting these out on the sidewalk: link

Ben in SE says: (6/30/12 6:33 PM)
In my experience, hipsters generally won't shop at WFM because it's anti-union and was founded by a libertarian that doesn't believe in global warming/climate change. It may as well be Walmart. Plus, they can't afford to shop there, though I suspect a great deal of DC hipsters are funded by their Potomac parents, so maybe cost is not so much of an issue. Cornercopia is much more likely to attract hipsters, with its neighborhood vibe and alternative products, though it is in far too nice a shape and its beer selection is not nearly ironic enough.

As to the dogs, the size is unimportant. What matters is where they rescued the dog from. Preferably they got the dog from a high-kill shelter in West Virginia, or something similar. This lets them feel good about rescuing the dog from certain death while being able to bash the politics of the locals on their way back to DC.

(While I am about as far away from a hipster as you can get, I am very aware of their tendencies. Though maybe LA hipsters are different; I do my best to ignore all things California.)

As to the benefits of a WFM, I can't see a downside in a high-end grocer investing in the neighborhood. The more non-baseball anchor institutions we have, the more likely it becomes that unique shops and restaurants will be able to survive. While people may disagree about how wonderful Whole Foods is, or think a different grocer would be preferable--all valid issues to discuss--the fact that WFM is strongly considering the hood is a very good thing.

PJY03 says: (6/30/12 6:46 PM)
The Arlington rap video is about yuppies. They are the anti-hipsters.

Whole foods or not, Near Southeast will never have hipsters.

Hipsters live in Columbia Heights, H St NE, U Street.

If this neighborhood evolves the way it is supposed to evolve, with high rise office space, luxury apartment buildings, chain sandwich places and Xavier Cervera restaurants, we will never, ever have hipsters. Hipsters will have nothing but disdain for near Southeast. And that's a good thing.

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (6/30/12 9:46 PM)
@PJY03...tell them boy!!

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (6/30/12 9:48 PM)
I don't know why people get confused the terms between yuppies and hipsters?

Ben in SE says: (6/30/12 9:59 PM)
I think hipster is just starting to mean any group of people that annoys you. Works for me.

MJM says: (6/30/12 10:53 PM)
Not annoying. Oh hipsters are in the area - just look around. Well someone's trust fund is supporting a few folks around here....

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (6/30/12 11:07 PM)
I am sure you have a better eye for the trust fund hipster babies.

The Hoff says: (7/1/12 11:29 AM)
I'm still of the belief an outreach program is needed where recycled organic matter is made into ironic hats and scarves and passed out to Riverfront residents. A partnership can be made with WFM to give skinny jeans to the first 100 customers. PJY03 can hold a sign displaying the mission statement: "ALL SALT IS SEA SALT" which is both obvious and ironic in itself since people overpay for something so common and Zoolander can throw lentils and sardines at those who scoff. Hipsters for Whole Foods, Inc. Can I be on the board?

All is jest!!! We should all just get together and drink some organic free range beer... sorry, I can't stop...

F says: (7/2/12 10:24 AM)

Hoff's got it right. Lets get all hipsters and non-hipsters together at WF or HT and do a taste test on their selection of beers. That should be the deciding criterion.

[This comment contains no antibiotics, growth hormones or industrial pesticides]

JD says: (7/2/12 9:28 PM)
I think I'm just going to make up Whole Foods rumors every so often, to guarantee massive click traffic.

That being said, doesn't this look like a grocery store on the left side?

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (7/3/12 10:23 AM)
YUP, that makes a perfect whole food location. They have to come up with a parking lot though.

JD says: (7/3/12 10:26 AM)
See the cars on the roof?

David Garber says: (7/3/12 10:33 AM)
They would love to see Trader Joe's at the car barn. But I believe in the 7th and L corner. Trader Joe's is notoriously silent on where they plan to open stores, though, and I know that there is a 15K SF grocery space planned in the Hine School redevelopment, which is exactly the TJ footprint.

straightoutof03 says: (7/3/12 12:59 PM)
I'd think closer to the navy yard metro would be more successful for WF or TJ given the proximity to residential and commercial buildings and the metro. Still though, I feel the location would do well as long as there is parking. Eastern Market is many things but convenient is not one of them.

MJM says: (7/3/12 3:16 PM)
On a serious note, what is the max number of grocery stores that could be supported in a couple square mile area? Have a Safeway in SW and Potomac Ave, HT at Potomac Ave, HT at NY and then a WF and/or TJ maybe at the NY? Just off the top of my head that seems to be a lot in a small area (NY) with a small population nearby. I guess people would drive here to get to WF or TJ??

F says: (7/5/12 9:26 PM)
I'd drive a few miles for a WF. Know many others who would too. Loyalty to HT isn't as high.

In the end the supermarket which will come is the one that can find the right size footprint, with parking. TJ has an advantage since their sq-ft requirements are the lowest. However, WF is very aggresive and when they decide to enter a market they go all out (CNBC special a few months ago).
Maybe the parking lot across from the Blue Castle could be made available if the price was right (I'm sure there are already dibs on it)

Comment #48 (lets see if we can take this over 100)

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (7/6/12 12:56 PM)
The nearest whole Food stores from here are the Clarendon and P st NW. I always go to the Clarendon because it is on my way from Work to home. Opening whole food at the 8 and M st SE makes a lots of sense. The fact that it is a few blocks from 295 will give a convenient access to the entire NE and SE neighborhoods. I also think it is more convenient for people who live in the Mount Vernon Triangle and Penn Quartet than the one on P and 14th street NW. I can bet that the minute Whole foods announce to open a new store in our neighborhood; Forest city, Akridge, Monument and other developers will galvanize and start their dormant projects.

Maelstrom says: (7/6/12 2:38 PM)

I don't know. Aren't Whole Foods stores generally huge-ish (I am not an expert)? Could the old car barn at 8th and M really support a whole foods? I could see it more as the main ground floor attraction of whatever they build across from the yard beside the old elementary school - but that would place it much nearer to the HT.

While we are looking for reasons to keep this thread going to 100, has anyone heard more on those vague rumors that E street Cinema was looking at space in The Yards?

JD says: (7/6/12 2:42 PM)
Re: Landmark/E Street, see this from February: link

* A Theater? Or Even A Theatre? - The Examiner reports that indy-friendly Landmark Theatres is wanting to open a second location in the District to go along with its E Street Cinema. While the article emphasizes that city officials are very much hoping that Landmark will consider an East of the River location, the director of the city's Office of Motion Picture and TV Development says that Landmark "is also looking at the Yards neighborhood[.]" Whether this truly means in the Yards itself or somewhere in the general Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards area, this news is certainly the sort of tidbit that gets residents veeeery excited. (Full disclosure: I see a lot of movies at E Street.)

JD says: (7/6/12 2:47 PM)
(Oops, sorry, was reading too quick, you said "more." Consider that previous comment just getting other people caught up. :-) )

JD says: (7/6/12 2:54 PM)
And, not that I'm padding the comment count, but the record in one of my threads is 74 comments, set by the post on the Market Deli being nominated for landmark status: link

(#2 was another Market Deli thread, at 49 comments, before this one just surpassed it, thanks mainly to me!)

F says: (7/6/12 3:17 PM)
I think the only way the 8th/M location would suffice as a WF is if they got, almost, the entire building. They need to have underground parking like the HT on Potomac Ave or strike up a deal to use part of the lot across thee street.

The new HT on 4th/M will be competing with the HT on Potomac Ave. I think there's enough differentiation between WF and HT to warrant both in our neighborhood.

Alo, keep in mind that most apartment building in Near SE are close to or past 90 percent occupany, hence higher rents in places like Jefferson and Axiom. Especially as new residences come into the area the demand will be there. Occupancy in the dormant Near SE office buildings may also spur some business for HT and WF.

I think this issue deserves a lot more attention than a non-historic deli.

ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (7/7/12 2:14 PM)
The navy yard car barn used to be a storage for streetcars back when street cars used to run in the district. Digging underground parking car garage is costly and I don't think the city will allow it. There is another option of building a parking garage on the roof top. According to the Madison Marquette link "the whole building is almost 100,000 square foot". The biggest whole food in the DC area is the fair lakes in Fairfax, VA which is 65,000 square feet. Whole food can stretch the square footage of their store at the car barn by 5k more feet and make it 70,000 square feet plus parking.

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