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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Jun 18, 2009
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4 Blog Posts

On Saturday EYA will be opening its new Capitol Quarter Sales Center and two model homes, in the row of houses now being finished along Fourth Street just north of L. They were nice enough to give me a sneak peek this afternoon, and I've posted some very quick photos of the interiors. The models are the Addison II and Banneker II designs, with the sales center in the ground floor of the Banneker. (You'll have to march up to the Banneker's third floor to see all the finishes and options.)
My photos of Capitol Quarter itself are a little outdated (damn rain)--the houses on both sides of L between Fourth and Fifth are now done and owners are moving in, while the houses along Fourth will start having their closings next month. The houses along Fifth are framed but not yet bricked, and foundations are being built in the next block, north of K Street. There's currently 21 houses for sale.
The grand opening is from noon to 4 pm on Saturday, at 1020 Fourth Street, SE, for those of you who need an address for your GPS.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter

From the Post's DC Wire blog: "City officials are close to finalizing a deal to build a new convention center hotel without having to secure an additional hundreds of millions of dollars in public financing, officials said today. Under the framework of the agreement, the city and the convention center authority will put up an additional $80 million. The city earlier had pledged $187 million for the project, which has languished due to tight credit markets. The rest of the money for the $537 million project will come from private sources. Frustrated that the hotel project had yet to break ground, convention center and D.C. Council members began exploring earlier this month whether the city could secure full public financing for the project. They argued the city was losing convention business to neighboring jurisdictions. But Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi, who was worried about the District breaching its debt limit, helped broker a deal in which Capstone Development will team with ING to secure private financing, sources said. The project is slated to be a 1,167 Marriott Marquis, which would be one of the city's largest hotels."
More here. Now to wait and see where that extra $80 million will come from...
UPDATE: WBJ reports on the near deal, which includes this: "The developers and key members of the D.C. Council began considering alternatives and Thursday said they had found one. In it, the Washington Convention Center Authority would contribute an $80 million loan -- a far smaller price tag than the mayor proposed -- and the developers would raise their equity participation from $135 million to $320 million with the backing of ING Clarion Real Estate Investment, the U.S. subsidiary of ING Real Estate and one of the city's largest property owners."
UPDATE II: The Examiner's story, with this morsel: "Evans, chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee, said he hoped to forestall the 'hysteria' of people thinking their projects were being eliminated. No projects will be dropped, he said. 'We're heading in the completely opposite direction,' he said."
UPDATE III: And the Post's for-print-publication version of their article, with a slightly less snarky Evans quote: "In recent days, some community and political leaders became concerned when the Washington Business Journal published a story suggesting that some development projects would have to be scrapped so the hotel could be built without exceeding the city's debt limit. Evans said the prospect of full public financing appears to have motivated the developers into putting up the equity so they could gain more of the profits. 'It caused everyone to focus, step up and get it done,' said Evans, who added that he hopes the council will vote on the proposal next month so construction can begin in the fall."
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Just out from Tommy Wells's office:
"(Washington, DC) - Councilmember Tommy Wells issued a statement today regarding the recent reports of the District's interest in delaying committed community development dollars to publicly fund a downtown Convention Center hotel.
Stated Councilmember Wells, "I am asking the Chief Financial Officer and my Council colleagues to cease discussion about the possibility of delaying the TIF and PILOT funds promised to the Southwest and Capitol Riverfront communities and incorrectly stating the projects are not on track. It is unwise for the City to even suggest going back on its commitment at the exact moment the project is moving forward to attract private financing. If attempted, it would create uncertainty and jeopardize the jobs, affordable housing, retail amenities and public investment that have been promised to our residents."
"The District has just finished the Land Disposition Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding between all lease holders, allowing the Southwest development team to move ahead with the amenity based project," added Wells.
Wells concluded, "Diverting funding away from the Southwest and Southeast neighborhoods at this time in favor of a fully government funded mega hotel breaks the promise we made to our residents that we are ready to move forward."
UPDATE: From the comments, one commenter says another commenter received an e-mail from Jack Evans, saying the following:
"The Council is not considering eliminating subsidies to neighborhood development projects the Council has previously approved. Projects such as O Street Market, which of course is of paramount importance, and projects in other wards will continue to move forward. Frankly, the biggest impediment to moving forward on some of these projects is not the public financing aspect but the ability to raise private equity--which as you can well imagine can be quite difficult these days.
"The Council, Mayor, and CFO, however are examining the actual debt service needs of each project on a fiscal year by year basis. In general, we tend to over-reserve debt authority on these projects. If we re-align these authorizations with what the projects are likely to require in actual debt service in FY 10 - 13, then it becomes more plausible to finance the new convention center hotel publicly while staying under the 12% debt cap. After FY 13 it is likely District revenues will continue to grow as the economy strengthens and the overall debt cap becomes less and less of an issue. So at this point all we are doing is exploring whether we can finance the hotel while continuing to move projects forward by better managing our debt.
"The Committee on Finance and Revenue, which I Chair, is holding a joint public hearing on the financing for the new Convention Center hotel next Wednesday, June 24th at 11 am and I invite everyone to testify. I think it is especially important for folks to come and emphasize how important it is to build the hotel and move forward so it is open by January 2013 when we have our first bookings in the hotel. I remain open minded as to how we finance the project, but our timeframes are fairly short here and we'll have to take final actions and move forward in the next few months. "
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* 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.

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