Since January, 2003
 Sliding from Before to After

Finishing up my prodigious output this week:
CSX EAST: Readers with bird's-eye views of the former CSX land west of New Jersey Avenue have been sending photos showing the start of digging for what will be three buildings, according to a long-time reader who sent in a report from an August meeting about the project, dubbed CSX East for now: a 225-room AC Marriott at 861 New Jersey, and two additional buildings with about 800 units total of residential, and a substantial "co-working" space. There's no publicly released renderings, but here's a site plan of how the three buildings will fit between 70/100 Capitol Yards and ORE 82 and the freeway.
Amazingly enough, I finally created a project page, and added a star to the map. Yay me!
And a couple additional tidbits:
* CAPPER SENIORS: The permit to reconstruct the senior apartment building destroyed by fire last year has been approved. Bozzuto construction signs went up a few weeks ago, so work should probably be getting underway Any Minute Now. The base designs are the same as the original building, but I assume (hope?) there have been some updates in the infrastructure.
* NOVEL SOCAP: Novel South Capitol announced in August that the east tower has begun pre-leasing of its 184 units, with move-ins starting in October. This is along side the west tower's 355 units. See the official web site for more.
* BRIDGE VIDEO: Can't wait for the new Douglass Bridge to get here? Here's a new video on its progress.
Comments (35)
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conngs0 says: (9/16/19 12:33 PM)
Thanks for the updates, JD! It's tough to tell with an untrained eye (mine!) how the buildings on "CSX east" will wind up interacting with the freeway, but I'm glad that some progress is being made and will look forward to seeing those renderings when they finally come out!

I was particularly happy to read that there's progress on the Capper senior residence. It's unfortunate that it's taken this long, especially with no design changes, but I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about what has to happen to get these projects underway. I'll heartily second your hope/assumption that the infrastructure will be significantly improved with the new building. Not doing that would be almost as criminal as deciding to keep paying public dollars to the management company (Edgewood)....

Westnorth says: (9/16/19 1:19 PM)
All I can see on that site plan is the word "HII"

rdotis says: (9/16/19 6:21 PM)
The failure to take advantage of the location of the historic Washington Canal (other than its namesake park along 2nd Street SE - itself a benign, dated design) is an example of how the various DC planning and historic preservation entities have failed to both protect the L'Enfant Plan and to make near southeast a truly vibrant, world-class commercial and residential neighborhood. The CSX East project is just the coffin nail for the lost opportunities the Canal offered.

If you look at a Google map (streets, not the satellite) of 2nd Street SE, I Street SE, NJ Ave SE and S.Capitol, you can see where streets bordering the Washington Canal used to exist - right through the Park Chelsea for example. It's location is also evident from the angle of the north side of 70 & 100 Capitol yards apartment buildings.

The Canal is a significant feature of the L'Enfant Plan and should have been included as a contributing feature when the Plan was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The city planning department had a major opportunity when faced with near SE as virtual blank slate. Instead, it allowed the few interesting, historic structures to be torn down and maximized the scale of every new structure. Working with a wide range of historic preservation and urban design entities that are always engaged in other major projects affecting the L'Enfant Plan and DC as the nation's capital, it could have ensured the architecture, massing, layout, street pavement (there's real cobble and granite block under that asphalt), lighting, and urban furniture reflected the history of the City and the area. It failed to do so and, with the exception of the Yards Park area, the result is an area that be in Houston.

The Carroll Creek Park in Frederick is an excellent example of what could have been the heart of the neighborhood. See photos in the link below. Instead, we have massive block-sized buildings taking the place of where the canal ran and could have once more. Imagine having lunch along a tree lined canal like Carrol Creek or even better, Canal Saint-Martin in Paris.

History of the Washington Canal and it's location:

Current Google Map of the area:

(oops, image URL included with this comment didn't work!)

rdotis says: (9/16/19 6:28 PM)
Carroll Creek Park, Frederick, MD:

(oops, image URL included with this comment didn't work!)

CJBabyDaddy says: (9/16/19 7:59 PM)
Many unexecuted plans have the advantage of being perfect in someone‘s eyes, and that perfection is never tarnished by reality. All executed plans fall short of the perfection of the plan that coulda shoulda been implemented.

Alex B. says: (9/17/19 4:26 PM)
I don't see how the canal's lack of presence reflects a lack of history. The big history of the canal is how it was a complete failure as a canal, and instead was an open sewer. In fact, you can (and should!) argue that the filling of the canal is a more important city planning legacy than the existence of the canal in the first place. The design notes for Canal Park and Yards Park are more than sufficient to recognize this era.

There's no legal justification for a 'historic' streetscape in this area, because historically there wasn't any streetscape. Likewise, the assertion that the existing streetscape plans might as well be in Houston seems misplaced.

If you want to argue for a serious flaw in the protection of the L'Enfant Plan, that should be the existence of the Ore 82 building and how it was allowed to protrude into the NJ Ave ROW.

JES says: (9/18/19 3:38 PM)
I hate that Ore 82 building. The sidewalk on the NJ side is so narrow, i've almost been hit by the opening of the Orange Theory door more times than I can count. There's no way to run/walk and NOT be in the potential path of that stupid door. Though maybe that has more to do with terrible tree box placement than the building itself, i dunno.

walt says: (9/18/19 4:04 PM)
I loved this neighborhood. Now I can only think of what I'm missing. I want a creek with street access!

I also really really want Virginia Avenue behind the power plant to be opened up to at least Bicycle/ pedestrian traffic. With a bike trail over that damn freeway over to E St NW. Any chance of that happening?

202_cyclist says: (9/19/19 10:44 AM)
I am so proud of Delegate Norton formholding thr statehood hearing today. It is a stain on our democracy that we and more than 700,000 of our neighbors (more than JD’s beloved Wyoming) have zero representation in Congress.

202_cyclist says: (9/19/19 10:45 AM)
*for holding the...

walt says: (9/20/19 8:44 AM)
Any info on the car v. pedestrian accident at Harris Teeter yesterday (9/19)? It sounded really bad and I'm hoping the family is okay

202_cyclist says: (9/20/19 9:56 AM)
Walt— we saw it as the police were towing away the vehicle. We heard from a bystander that a child was struck. I hope the child is okay.

This is really a terrible intersection that DDOT needs to address.

202_cyclist says: (9/20/19 9:56 AM)
Happy Park-ing Day! We met a great group of volunteers setting up wildflowers on NJ Ave to attract bees.

JES says: (9/20/19 12:09 PM)
That 4th & M light needs updating. They either need to make the left turn arrow longer or dump it altogether. The thing stays green barely long enough for 2 or 3 cars to get through, and if there's a long line of cars, that results in 2 or 3 additional ones running the light after the pedestrian signal has come on. It's a disaster.

jdc says: (9/20/19 2:51 PM)
The continuing increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic in JD land requires DDOT to continue to refine and analyze things such as length of signals and whether certain vehicular movements need to be re-structured or prohibited.

Ampersand says: (9/24/19 6:10 PM)
Oh yes Canal Park totally sucks, the tens of thousands of people who use it every year are idiots with no aesthetic taste. Tear down the buildings that house thousands! Bring back "historic" open sewers! Reject the "Houstonizing" of DC! Already the taco shops are moving in and destroying the local food scene, or something.

walt says: (9/25/19 9:15 AM)
Re: 4th & M: The family that was hit was on the sidewalk, so it's not like they were crossing the intersection. But traffic calming at that intersection (and many others) would help. There really has to be a consequence for driving like an ass. It happens every single day and nothing ever happens. Walking a dog is like navigating an obstacle course of angry people in 2-ton weapons.

walt says: (9/25/19 9:20 AM)
I try to be a good dog caretaker. I don't let my dog go on flowers or on the "neighbor" side of the sidewalk. But I let him go on the hellstrip. Some apartment buildings have "no dogs" signs on both sides of the sidewalk. Where is my dog supposed to go?

By the way, I always look for another poop to pick up when I'm picking up my own dog's poop. If you can get two poops in one bag, please do so. If you're willing to use another bag to pick up another random poop, then you're my hero.

walt says: (9/25/19 9:22 AM)
Capper Seniors:
There are big stacks of lumber on the Capper site. I assume they are acclimating to the weather? Or at least just waiting to be rained on?

202_cyclist says: (9/25/19 9:56 AM)
This is the comment of the year on JD Land. I couldn't agree more. My wife wishes diarrhea on every terrible driver, so maybe there is some cosmic justice, however.

"There really has to be a consequence for driving like an ass. It happens every single day and nothing ever happens."

202_cyclist says: (9/25/19 9:57 AM)

I will enjoy the wild card game but we have purchased enough $15 beers this season for the Nationals to get some quality relief pitchers for 2020.

CJBabyDaddy says: (9/25/19 10:59 AM)

Looks like we’re getting a 1st Floor neighbor at the Bower:


walt says: (9/25/19 12:09 PM)
Looking forward to another restaurant on 4th. I would really like either an order-by-app and bring out to sidewalk or a walk-up option for when I have the dog with me.

202_cyclist says: (9/25/19 1:33 PM)
That Puerto Rican restaurant sounds fantastic. Hopefully they play some Calle 13, Don Omar, and some other reggaeton hits there.

jdc says: (9/25/19 2:19 PM)
DC Crossing is coming along nicely. It is a distinctive building, both in terms of shape and design. It does look like an office building to me, especially with the lack of small balconies which seems very common these days and large amounts of tinted glass.

GaryRKarr says: (10/2/19 1:43 PM)
Took a tour yesterday evening (pre-game) of a Novel South Capitol apartment on the very northwest corner of the building ... what I wonder about is what will happen to the little sliver of land between the freeway and the apartment complex, just to the west of the car wash. The leasing agent thinks it's owned by the car wash folks, though I'm kind of wondering whether that's true.

JD says: (10/2/19 2:15 PM)
Gary, that's owned now by the people who just bought up the rest of the CSX East land. (Splash is positioned incorrectly on the Google Map used as the background.) See the graphic at the top of the page (or, here):

202_cyclist says: (10/3/19 11:07 AM)
What will happen with the land under I-695? Does DDOT own that land? In Berlin, there are bars and restaurants under the railroad tracks. Hopefully the land under I-695 can be similarly utilized.

202_cyclist says: (10/3/19 11:07 AM)
What will happen with the land under I-695? Does DDOT own that land? In Berlin, there are bars and restaurants under the railroad tracks. Hopefully the land under I-695 can be similarly utilized.

202_cyclist says: (10/3/19 11:09 AM)
This is pretty interesting. It would be great if, through greater efficiency and more solar capacity, we could eliminate the need for the Capitol power plant.


goldfish says: (10/7/19 11:25 AM)
Regarding the sliver -- actually, not that small -- next to the car wash, I can't image a more challenging piece of property to develop. On the west, it abuts to the I695 freeway ramp; on the north, it is under I695, to the no-access railroad tracks; on the east, the walled-off car wash; and on the south, the new apartment building. It is completely surrounded with no street access.

202_cyclist says: (10/7/19 2:28 PM)
Maybe they can build a cat park on that parcel for JD?

Daedam says: (10/7/19 5:34 PM)
@goldfish, I believe DDOT plans to remove the westbound freeway ramp as part of a later phase of the South Capitol Street corridor project, although I can't find a link to the project anymore (only info about the new Douglass bridge). The last I saw, they planned to make it a signalized left turn onto a new ramp to I-395, along with turning S Cap from E St to N St into more of a boulevard than a pseudo-freeway. So, maybe that sliver will eventually have decent street access.

JD says: (10/7/19 5:35 PM)
Ahem. link

Daedam says: (10/7/19 5:44 PM)
Sorry, JD... I meant info on the project pages. I should have known you'd have it. ;-)

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