A few items of note I've come across while catching up with recently filed building permit applications:
* CHURCH OF THE BLUE CASTLE
: It's been four years since the National Community Church purchased the Navy Yard Car Barn
, aka the "Blue Castle," at 8th and M, and with all tenant leases now expired, an interior building permit application has been filed for creating a "worship space" for the church, along with support spaces "such as green rooms, production studio, and a kids room." Back in September, Capitol Hill Corner reported
that these Phase I plans are for a 900-plus seat auditorium "which will be used for Sunday church services but will be available for rent to the community during days and nights." And, to answer the inevitable question, when I interviewed Mark Batterson
about the purchase of the building, he said that he hopes "that someday the Blue Castle will just be the Castle."
* CHURCH OF THE A-1 TIRES:
While developers have been trying to pitch
a sliver of a residential building on the northeast corner of 1st and K since the lot changed hands in 2017, the only current movement at the site is an apparent plan to renovate the former A-1 Tires garage for a church assembly space, including a new roof and windows. Is perhaps the Waterfront Church
looking to move from their Capitol Hill Tower space? We Shall See. UPDATE:
I've been told that this is an expansion by the Waterfront Church, not a move.
* HARNESSING THE SUN MONSTER:
If you've seen some construction activities on top of the Nats Park garages along N Street, it is the installation of "solar canopies" containing 4080 modules. (The only question remaining is, will the Sun Monster's number one victim
be back this season to see these new additions?)
* WALLS COME TUMBLIN' DOWN?:
After the Lerner Companies initially received approval
to take the roof off of the old warehouse at 49 L but keep the lower 4 feet of brick walls, there is now a request to revise that permit to remove the wall completely "due to failing structural integrity," and to replace it with a new 8-foot chain link fence. There have been no development plans announced for this site, but one wonders if the Lerners might be thinking about some temporary parking options if indeed their 1000 South Capitol
residential building is soon to get underway, which would necessitate the closure/move of Nats Parking Lot K.
A First Look at the Proposed Chemonics Headquarters Building at the Yards
Jan 2, 2019 4:03 PM
Last month, Forest City filed plans with the Zoning Commission for a design review of Yards Parcel G
, currently home to the Trapeze School and now expected to be the new headquarters for Chemonics International
, a USAID contractor.
Note that when the news first broke, it was said that this building would be at New Jersey and M, but that's incorrect--it is planned for the northwest corner of New Jersey and N and/or Tingey and/or the proposed Tingey Square, as seen in this rendering, which helpfully provides Nats Park and the DC Water headquarters building as reference points. (And directly across N from Chemonics HQ is the planned residential building on Parcel I, which you can read about here
This would be a 290,000-square-foot, 11-story-plus-penthouse building, with about 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and about 165 below-grade parking spaces. The zoning filing says that approximately 1,200 employees would be expected to move to the building when it opens. There will also be an at-grade bicycle lobby for building users.
This building's west side will face 1 1/2 Street, Yards West's planned pedestrian-oriented-but-not-pedestrian-only "spine
," and to the north it will be bounded by the planned Quander Street that is to be (re-)built at the spot where the currently huge empty block is bisected by an east-west sidewalk.
Here's a trip around three of the building's corners, starting at its northwest corner where 1 1/2 and Quander Streets will meet, then at Quander and New Jersey, and then at New Jersey and N/Tingey/Tingey Square:
For those of you concerned for the fate of the trapezers, the zoning filing says that the school would be moved to Parcel E, which is the site of Building 202
, and which apparently will soon be its own design review application. (Hmmmmm.....)
I threw together a quick Parcel G page
, which will jog longtime residents' memories of Spooky Building 213, which occupied this parcel along with Parcels A and F for 50 years or so.
The zoning design review hearing is scheduled for April.
Forgot to include that Chemonics received a $5.2 million property tax break
for its decision to relocate to the Yards. Specifically, it is an eight-year tax abatement running from FY 2023 to FY 2030.
(See, I do still know how to blog. I may found out this weekend if I still know how to take pictures.)
Yards West Zoning Filing: Residential on Parcel I, New Streets
Oct 19, 2018 2:19 PM
Now that everyone (meaning me) has recovered from The Great Grocery Store Opening of 2018, we can turn our attention to the newest project to head into the zoning approvals fun factory: a 348-unit apartment building by Forest City on "Yards Parcel I
," which is on the south side of N Street west of New Jersey.
If you're having trouble envisioning this location, it's the eastern portion of the big parking lot on the south side of N. (The rendering above is looking toward the southeast from N Street's north-side parking lot, like this
The most striking part of the building's design is the "one-story double-height bridge" that runs across the courtyard at the 8th of the building's 11 floors, and which would have the building's pool on top of it.
The bridge and the open courtyard will both face "1 1/2 Street," the new "spine" of Yards West that will run from M Street to Diamond Teague Park. It will be pedestrian-only from M south to the reconstituted Quander Street
, and then will be a "shared curbless street" down to its terminus by Diamond Teague Park. You might need your magnifying glass even after clicking on it to enlarge it, but the image at right shows the full Yards West site plan on the left, and a zoom-in on the new Parcel I footprint at right.
(A tidbit of note in the zoning filing mentions that 1 1/2 Street would lead south from M Street "and a potential additional entrance to the Navy Yard Metrorail station.")
Here's some additional renderings, showing the bridge, and 1 1/2 Street, and even the planned Tingey Square at the current intersection of New Jersey, N, and Tingey.
The zoning filing says that Forest City expects to build out much of the new Yards West street grid beginning next year: which includes the two-block segment of Quander Street between 1st and New Jersey and the "curbless street" portion of 1 1/2 Street between Quander and N Place (the little alley-like street south of the big parking lot and north of the DC Water brick building).
The new building would also have about 13,600 square feet of retail, and two levels of underground parking with 243 spaces.
You can see a couple more images on my new Yards Parcel I page
, though I imagine that 1 1/2 Street will eventually get its own page.
In the meantime, here's what the intersection of 1 1/2 and N looks like now
, to further help you place it.
(Yes, I have 1 1/2 Street already set up in my Photo Archive, if you want to see the full before-and-afters
. Though I guess I'd better add Quander Street now, too.)
The zoning hearing is not yet scheduled, and so there's no firm start date for construction of the building as yet.
PS: Don't blame me about "1 1/2 Street."
October, A Good Time to Look at Skeletons. And Holes. And Buildings.
Oct 4, 2018 1:55 PM
It would be terribly hokey for me to say something along the lines of, "It's almost Halloween, and the neighborhood is appropriately decked out with skeletons." So, I won't. But there is a whole lot of construction going on, counting not only nearly finished buildings, but also buildings getting their faces put on or heading toward topping out or now "going vertical" below ground level.
I'll go in order from newest to oldest, starting with peering down into holes that you might not be looking into yourselves.
Three residential projects that began excavating in the spring are already starting to climb upward, as you can see in the above photos from 1000 1st Street
and the Maren
at Florida Rock. Tishman Speyer's mystery residential project
that covers all of what's known as Square 696 is a hybrid, with some excavation still underway while the eastern half is now starting to rise. (and no, we still don't have renderings.) Then there's phase two of One Hill South
(Two Hill South? One Hill South Two? Return of One Hill South? One Hill South, Electric Boogaloo?), where digging is being hampered by complaints of fumes emanating from the site
's past life as a gas station.
Next we turn to the neighborhood's EIGHT projects that are above ground but not yet topped out. (I could call it six, since there are two projects with two buildings going up concurrently, but let's call an eight an eight.)
Let's start with residential projects The Garrett
at 2nd and I, Parc Riverside
Phase II at Half and L, and the second phase of Novel South Capitol
at 4 I, which was kind of a shocker to see go up since it was never really announced that the entire project would be under construction at once:
I'll note that the photo of the Garrett is a bit of a triumph, because it's the first one I've gotten from the northeast, now that the wrapping up of tunnel construction has given me some sidewalk access to the intersection at 2nd and H. (Which hopefully will be open completely by Oct. 18, the Whole Foods Day of All Days.)
Next, let's wander down to the Ballpark District, where the National Association of Broadcasters headquarters
is a whisker away from topping out and its sibling the Avidian condo building is now well visble. One block away, 1250 Half
is in its final minutes of not being completely above ground, as the portion closer to N Street is now right even with the street, while its northern portion has been skeletoning for quite some time. And at 3rd and Tingey, the combo project of the Thompson hotel and the Estate apartment building
are beginning to change the feel of the western side of the Yards Park.
Now, a quick look at the buildings getting their faces on, since this is the stage when everyone is pretty much tapping their toes and waiting for the projects to be finished already. (There's a section of Virginia Avenue that qualifies for that, too.) May I present West Half
at Half and N, the Harlow
mixed-income building at 3rd and L, the Bower/Guild
condo/rental buildings, and the new DC Water headquarters
To wrap it up, there's one additional ghostly building
to keep an eye on, though I don't wish to be flippant about it. Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen is holding a hearing on Oct. 25
about the fire and response, for those interested.
And that's "it." Ha. Ha. I imagine the next major update will be in December, when I will spend most of the time complaining about how the low sun angle and a decade's worth of construction has made it impossible to take photos unruined by shadows. I may have to (gasp!) go out on cloudy days until spring.
, 1250 Half St.
, Novel South Capitol
, One Hill South
, Avidian Condos
, Capper Senior Apt Bldgs
, Development News, Florida Rock
, The Garrett Apts.
, Maren Apts.
, Nat'l Assoc of Broadcasters HQ
, WC Smith/Square 737
, The Harlow/Capper
, Square 696 Residential
, Parc Riverside Apts
, DC Water (WASA)
, West Half St.
, Thompson Hotel/Estate Apts./Yards
, Bower Condos/Guild Apts/Yards
Looking at the Neighborhood from Nats Park, 2018 Version
Jul 10, 2018 4:18 PM
Going to be a pretty Nats Park
-centric bunch of posts in the next few days thanks to All-Star Fever, so I thought I'd start off with a bit of a look back, while looking out.
This weekend I brought the JDLand camera to a ballgame for the first time in a while, and spent much of the time wandering from vantage point to vantage point to take pictures. It's really hard for me to believe that it's been nearly 11 years since I first was shepherded up to the upper concourse and out onto various viewing platforms, with someone holding the back of my jacket while I shot because the railings weren't in place yet.
The obvious skyline view, of the buildings now going up along Half Street and N Street, is the subject of much discussion these days (Lookit tthe cranes! Why did they allow them to block the dome? What about the parking garages?), but I also have great fondness for the viewing platform on the southeast side. So here's a quick sampling (click to enlarge):
June Construction Update 763: Half Street Doings
Jun 21, 2018 9:16 PM
In the past few posts I've shown you the neighborhood's newest skeletons/skeletons to be
, I've shown you buildings that are topped out but still getting exterior work done
, and holes in the ground
, and I know you are long since bored of this stretch of posts, but I will still do one more, looking at two projects that between them are managing to fall into all categories at once.
Plus, they are probably the two most watched projects in the neighborhood at the moment.
These are two views of JBG Smith's West Half
420-unit residential development, which, if I can count floors correctly, is still not yet topped out, but which, as seen in the second photo, is already hanging glass on the lower floors, presumably to protect the spaces from the roving gangs of All-Star hooligans that will descend next month. I think both photos do a good job of showing the very unique structure of this building, as it appears from the north to be funneling down into the ballpark. It also looks like the corner of the building facing the ballpark is prepped to have some signage hung. Digital? Temporary? Permanent? We Shall See! This building is expected to have about 65,000 square feet of retail on its first two floors.
And, across the way, we have:
The east side of the street will be home to 1250 Half Street
, a residential project that is both a nearly topped-out skeleton (on the north end of the site) and a still-not-yet-out-of-the-ground hole to peer into (on the south end of the site). It is actually all one building, it's just that the foundation was built on the north end back when Monument Realty had plans to develop the rest of the block as it was building the 55 M
office building, before, well, you know, Things Happened. So this allowed Jair Lynch Development Partners to plow ahead with above-ground work there while prepping the rest of the former Monument Valley hole to go vertical. This building will have as many as 440 rental units and over 60,000 square feet of retail (including anchor tenant Punch Bowl Social) when it's finished, though I should note that it is going to be completed in two phases, with construction of the phase two "boutique residential building" facing N Street coming later.
And here's what both will look like to people exiting the ballpark when they are finished.
Which is a little different from:
With that, I am done running down all of the latest construction statuses (statusi?). If you are worn out, don't blame me, blame the SEVENTEEN separate construction projects underway (19 if you include the Virginia Avenue Tunnel and the new South Capitol Street bridge).
June Construction Update 3: Holes in the Ground
Jun 21, 2018 10:27 AM
I'll make this one a little more succinct. These are holes. They are all holes being dug for new residential buildings. There may be two additional
holes by the end of the year.
May I present to you the residetial projects of: Square 696
, 1000 1st Street
, and the Maren
. Check the project pages for details.
And, speaking of Square 696, there still are no publicly available renderings for this 800-unit two-phase residential project by Tishman Speyer. So, you know what that means
June Construction Update 2: Getting Their Faces On
Jun 20, 2018 12:54 PM
Having talked you through the tour of new skeletons
, I'll now move to the buildings that have been topped out for a while and are getting their faces on. as I like to say.
* At left, we have what is now known as "Novel South Capitol
," previously known as 2 I Street, aka The Building That Took Away McDonald's and Broke JD's Heart. And, as a tidbit for loyal readers who actually read what I write in this posts, I see an approved building permit for phase two of this project, at 4 I Street. (There's a reference in the permit to a name "Velocity"--I assume someone will point out the error of that at some point.) This first phase is a 380-unit apartment building.
* At right, we have the still-as-yet-unnamed mixed-income apartment building
at 2nd and L, just a few steps from Canal Park
. It is slated to 179ish units, of which 36 will be for public housing residents. This building is part of the huge Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, and may before long have DDOT as a sibling
on the south side of that block. It's also supposed to have a small amount of retail in the portion of the ground floor that faces the park.
But wait, there's more!
*Transition from beige brick to red brick, we have the latest look at the Bower
, the 138-unit condo building at 4th and Tingey in the Yards. This photo is taken from its east side, at what will be a new intersection of 5th and Tingey. And behind the Bower, where you see the green wall covering, we have...
* The Guild
(at least we think it's going to be called the Guild), the 190-unit rental building that is actually two parallel towers that run north/south behind the Bower, as more clearly seen in the middle photo. There will be a new block of Water Street running between the Guild and the parking lot, hooking up with the new 5th Street to the east.
* Lastly, I decided to toss in a photo of the back of the new DC Water
headquarters, to not only show how the new building wraps around the existing (and still operational) O Street pumping station, but how the back of the building now has colored panels that mimic the front's glass, so that it isn't the stark green monolith that had people a little nervous a few months ago.
Head to the project pages of each of these buildings to see more before and afters, renderings, sliders, and whatnot.
Coming next, a look at two projects that are refusing to adhere to my facile skeletons
June Construction Update I: The Newcomers
Jun 19, 2018 2:40 PM
It took 27,000 steps and 1,600 photos for me to thoroughly photograph
the status of the neighborhood's current construction projects--but I was up to the task, albeit with a necessary moment of refueling
But there's no way that these seventeen
projects can be well surveyed in one post, so let's start with the five projects now that have arrived above the fence line or right at it in the past few weeks:
* First up is the one that's probably making the biggest splash, which is the new National Association of Broadcasters HQ
at South Capitol and M. (Its sibling, the Avidian condo building, isn't quite keeping up
, and is still below the fence line.)
* Meanwhile, up at Half and K, It's taken a while but the second phase of the Parc Riverside
apartments is now visible from street level as well.
* Trekking over to the Yards, the Thompson Hotel
on the south side of Tingey Street is visible, while *its* sibling, the 227-unit apartment building apparently dubbed The Estate
, has rebar juuuuuuust poking up above the fence line, but not obvious enough to bother with a photo. (See, I'm not COMPLETELY OCD about this.)
* The last new arrival, the third portion of "The Collective" group of apartments known as the Garrett
, is past the fences.
Stay tuned for more.
Watching the Neighborhood Change By Watching a Single Corner
Jun 17, 2018 9:05 PM
I took a positively epic number of photos
on Saturday, and one of spots I captured was the southwest corner of 1st and M
, where Skanska's 99 M
office building now appears in more or less its final form (except for the retail spaces).
Of course it made me think of that spot's "before photo," which is one of my absolute favorites, because it shows the old Normandie Liquors building, all alone, in May 2006. Just one block to the south, demolitions were underway to clear the site that would become Nats Park, but this photo gives no hint of the radical changes about to come.
And then I thought about how I have taken so many photos of this corner since 2006, because the actual corner lot took so long to be developed, and because so much happened right around it. And I realized that it is probably one of the best spots to illustrate what has happened in the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards neighborhood over the past 15 years.
Let's take a run through just a few of the 102 photos I have taken of that corner since 2006. Click to enlarge/slideshow 'em:
By June 2007, cranes are visible to the south, as work on the ballpark is well underway. Later that year the distinctive steel work of 55 M
appears next door, and the new building rises up above the Normandie--until February 2008, when the little yellow brick building meets its demise. The ballpark is now clearly visible from 1st and M, just in time for its debut in late March, 2008, and by the end of that year, 55 M's exterior is finished.
And then the view freezes. It's the same for all of 2009, and 2010, and 2011, and 2012, and 2013, until at last a crane appears at the south end of the 1st Street block in spring 2014. Up goes the Hampton Inn
, and it is followed in 2015 and 2016 by F1rst
and the Residence Inn
Finally, in May 2017, 11 years after the Normandie stood alone, the southwest corner of 1st and M finally has a skeleton of its own, as 99 M at last makes it above ground.
And now, one year after that, the sidewalks are open, and the garage-like doors where Circa will host hordes of stadium-goers are visible.
I'm guessing the beverages at Circa will cost a little more than they did at Normandie.
This is of course just one of a whole lot of corners that have radically changed in the past 15 years, and some of them even had a similar start-stop-start timeline, but I do think if one corner has to be picked to tell the story, it's this one.
Recent-Tidbit Roundup, And Cleaning the Slate for the Next Batch
May 30, 2018 12:08 PM
I'm thrilled with the flow of tidbits (and how easy it is for me to add them as I see them), but still need to come up with a way I think to better alert people or highlight them.
In the meantime, you should keep checking the site on a regular basis, and I'll post new threads up every so often and invite people to check out what they might have missed
, which in this case includes:
* News of the neighborhood's "Rooftop Hop" on Saturday starting at 2pm (RSVP required
* A farmers' market at Nats Park
on Sunday, June 3 starting at 10 am.
* A Post article on complaints of excess vibrations
with the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel(s).
District Department of Transportation Looking to Move to 250 M
May 14, 2018 2:54 PM
I said I'd post when the urge struck and when I could provide a bit of additional background, and after watching this particular lot
for 15 years, there's no way I could pass up the news
that apparently the District Department of Transportation "intends" to move eastward from its current spot in the 55 M Street
office building to 250 M Street
, where it would be the sole office tenant in a new building to be constructed by WC Smith.
According to ANC 6D commissioner Meredith Fascett
, DDOT is wanting to occupy its new space by early 2021, which would mean construction would need to start in early 2019.
This location is directly across from the US Department of Transportation
, which means that I'll be forced to call this stretch the DOT block of M Street, SE. It also will share the block known as Square 769 with the currently under-construction mixed-income apartment building
on the north end of the block.
There are ANC and zoning approvals to be had, including giving the okay to WC Smith's desire to lower the building height to nine stories (as, ahem, illustrated at right), cut back on the ground floor retail space, and drop the expected parking spaces to 177 on three underground levels (instead of 197 on four).
This building is actually part of the Capper-Carrollsburg
PUD, and it was 10 years ago this month that the plan for an office building on this site received its preliminary zoning approvals
. Then the Great Recession came along, building office buildings without substantial amounts of space pre-leased became a relic of another time, and WC Smith had to file for four two-year extensions to that zoning approval, the last in late 2016
As for DDOT's current home, it was in May 2010 that the rumor first came out that the agency would be moving to 55 M
, which was a big get for that building and for the neighborhood in general at the time.
And, this lot also is dear to my heart because it was the subject of one of the first photos I ever took in the neighborhood, with my film camera (with bad film in it, dammit) in the fall of 2000. And I thought when I first really started tracking the neighborhood in 2003 that it took what seemed to me to be for-eehhhhh-ver for that little gas station to be demolished, nine whole months
after I started watching, one month after the photo at right was taken in August of that year. Little did I know.
April Construction Report: New Fences to Peek Behind, and More
Apr 20, 2018 3:35 PM
Yes, it's time for another edition of JD Looks Behind Fences and Into Holes So You Don't Have To, and we start the rundown with two new spots to add to the lineup, where dirt has just begun to be moved: 71 Potomac
, the 264-unit sibling to Dock 79 at Florida Rock, and "Square 696
," Tishman Speyer's still-not-publicly-unveiled residential and retail project on the block bounded by I, K, 1st, and Half Streets. Plus I'll add an up-to-date shot of the excavation at Paradigm's 1000 1st Street project
, just because it doesn't fit anywhere else in this post:
(Note that I'm giving Tishman a few more weeks before I craft my own rendering. And thanks to the 71 Potomac folks for the pretty wood fences with holes in them that are perfect for snooping bloggers to look through!)
Next, let's talk about the "hybrid" hole in the ground at