Since January, 2003

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June 2, 2014
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I've been to a fair number of ribbon cuttings over the past decade, and I have to say that Friday's opening of Canal Park seemed to be infused with a level of excitement and joy that I don't think I've seen at any of the others.
While getting Nationals Park open in 2008 was a triumph of speed and scale, the 13-year journey of the three-block park at the heart of Near Southeast required so many hands and so much patience and resulted in a space with which the stakeholders are clearly thrilled that it shouldn't really be a surprise that on a gorgeously crisp late fall day so many attendees were walking around with what Tommy Wells described as "a huge smile on their face."
The speakers standing at a podium in the center block's small pavilion ran through the list of names and agencies that brought the park to fruition, starting with developer William C. Smith, whose CEO Chris Smith started the long drive to build the park, creating the Canal Park Development Association back in 2000. Then there was money from the federal government and the DC government, additional dollars and much support from the DC Housing Authority, work by OLIN landscape architects and STUDIOS architecture to design the park with innovative sustainable development and storm water management components (and a skating rink!). Props were given for the hiring of Housing Authority residents for 15 of the park's 25 part-time jobs.The Capitol Riverfront BID and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities also took bows for their parts in the park's creation (and future).
After the speeches, the festivities moved to the skating rink, where the ribbon was cut and Mayor Gray drove the Zamboni, and then the public laced up its skates and got out on the ice. And they kept skating, well into the night. (And I have no doubt there will be big crowds at the rink and park today as well.) For all the happiness seen in the park's founders about getting it finally opened, I saw equal measures of surprise and cheer that so many residents and neighborhood office workers had come to the opening, had stayed through the long speechifying, and now were skating and strolling.
I've joked that I sure have been saying the word "finally" a lot lately--the trash transfer station is finally demolished, Kruba Thai is finally open, Gordon Biersch finally admitted they're coming to 100 M, Vida Fitness is finally announced, Capitol Quarter is finally finished.... But it's the "finally" of Canal Park opening that hit me more than I expected, perhaps similarly to all those happy stakeholders.
I took a lot of photos of fenced-off schoolbuses in the early years, posted a lot of renderings (some for the park's first design that never materialized), and bugged a lot of people to find out the latest. It was, after all, one of the few projects that was already in planning when I started tracking Near Southeast in early 2003, along with the Capper redevelopment and Capitol Hill Tower.
And now the park is open (with the Park Tavern restaurant to follow "within a few weeks"), and everybody can enjoy it. Finally!
Hope you'll check out my photo galleries of the park, yesterday's ceremonies, and the park's opening night, along with my expanded gallery of before-and-afters from around the park (with some that I still need to fill in, oops). And you can also see coverage from the Post, NBC4, and WJLA. And the lineup of today's events and other details on the park's official web site. And tell us what you think of the park.
Comments (5)
 
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SBS says: (11/17/12 11:50 PM)
JD: These photos are such a wonderful landmark. Thank you for taking us all along with you on this journey. The park is gorgeous and really capture the vision of the future you feel in so many ways around DC. I may have to learn to skate!


Jaybird says: (11/18/12 8:54 AM)
JD,

Your night photo of the rink with the Capitol in the background is priceless!



Jaybird says: (11/18/12 8:58 AM)
And some remind of the Rockefeller Center.


MalS says: (11/19/12 5:13 PM)
Great work, JD - I was at the park Friday and it is a very exciting step for the area. The park is very beautiful and will only get more so as plantings mature. What a time for near Southeast! As always, thank you for the remarkable documenting that you achieve.


JeffreyGordon says: (11/19/12 11:46 PM)
JD, thanks for the update as usual! I am planning on being in town after the first of the year and really look forward to seeing all the progress since I was last there in july of 2010. I really appreciate any/all updates from you.

jg

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 06/26/14
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1331 2ND ST SE    Carlton Ray 
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908 3RD ST SE    Rachel Frankel 
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streetfixture; new  
 07/24/14
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09/21/14
1026 3RD ST SE    Wash Gas & Light Co. 
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08/28/14
1100 - 1199 BLOCK 1ST ST SE    tom cash 
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to
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410 M ST SE    Pepco Holdings Inc 
Issued
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 07/11/14
to
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800 NEW JERSEY AVE SE    Pepco Holdings Inc 
Issued
excavation; new  
 06/20/14
to
08/22/14
880 NEW JERSEY AVE SE    WASHINGTON GAS 
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 07/28/14
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301 TINGEY ST SE    Potbelly Sandwich Works LLC 
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 03/21/12
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1011 1ST ST SE   
08/06/14 
TOLL DC LP / MITCH A. PERMUY
E1407892 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/11/14 
TOLL DC LP / ALBERT J. PEARCE
FB1400108 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1259 1ST ST SE   
08/11/14 
CAPITAL RIVERFRONT HOTEL LLC / CAPITAL RIVERFR HOTEL LLC
AH1400636 / CONSTRUCTION
AFTER HOURS FOR PERMIT NUMBER B1401471 FOR 8 / 12 THROUGH 9 / 11 FROM 5AM TO 7PM MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.
1212 4TH ST SE   
08/07/14 
TAKOREAN / FVI 2020
B1410615 / CONSTRUCTION
REVISION TO TL1400052 TO INCLUDE OUTDOOR SUMMER GARDEN WITH 14 SEATS AND 7 TABLES.
1201 4TH ST SE   
08/12/14 
JBG/FEDERAL CENTER LIC / JIM CALABRESE
AN1400129 / CONSTRUCTION
PLEASE EXTEND PERMIT AN1300174 THIS IS THE FIRST EXTENSION AND PERMIT WILL BE VALID UNTIL 1 / 31 / 2015.
1212 4TH ST SE   
08/01/14 
MIKE LENARD 1451 BELMONT ST NW SUITE 214 / PAUL THIEBERGER; MIKE LENARD 1451 BELMONT ST NW SUITE 214; PAUL THIEBERGER
P93379840 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/05/14 
FC 1212 LLC / THE YARDS
TL1400165 / CONSTRUCTION
FIRST TIME TENANT LAYOUT FOR NEW MANAGEMENT OFFICE 2ND FLOOR TOTAL OF 780 SQ FT RENOVATION LIMIT TO MECHANICAL ELECTRIC AND FIRE LIFE SAFETY ONLY
1331 4TH ST SE   
08/14/14 
F. C. 1331 LLC / FVI 2020
B1402843 / CONSTRUCTION
CONSTRUCTION OF A BRAND NEW 11 STORY BUILDING. THE BUILDING IN TOTAL IS 350 000 SQ FT. ADDING 327 RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNITS 20 000 SQ FT. IN COMMERCIAL SPACE AND 3 BELOW GRADE PARKING LEVELS.
   
08/15/14 
CLARK CONCRETE
AH1400650 / CONSTRUCTION
AFTER HOURS TO POUR CONCRETE ON JOBSITE FROM 7AM TO 7PM FROM SUNDAY TO SATURDAY 8 / 15 / 2014 TO 11 / 15 / 2014
1000 5TH ST SE   
08/07/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / KIM MITCHELL CDKM CONSULTING LLC
FD1400029 / CONSTRUCTION
FOUNDATION TO GRADE TO INCLUDE UTILITIES
   
08/13/14 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA /
FD1400132 / CONSTRUCTION
NEW FOUNDATION TO GRADE PERMIT FOR NEW COMMUNITY CENTER INCLUDING UTILITIES. REVISION TO FD1400029 TO REVISE STRUCTURAL DETAILS OF COLUMS.
1015 HALF ST SE   
08/12/14 
HALF ST SE LLC / SAM HOLLEN RAMCO OF DC INC.
TL1400162 / CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR TENANT LAYOUT OF 1ST FLOOR PERFORMANCE STUDIO SPACE AND OFFICE SPACE. PARTITIONS FURNITURE MECHANICAL ELECTRICAL AND LIFE SAFETY. CBS
   
08/15/14 
HALF ST SE LLC / ROBERT L HUNTER
M1402951 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/16/14 
SAM HOLLEN / DONALD VEALS; SAM HOLLEN; DONALD VEALS
E83010192 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1201 HALF ST SE   
08/01/14 
LIVE NATION / JOSE VEGA A-1 ENGINEERING
TN1400164 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PLACE A TENT IN PUBLIC SPACE FOR SPECIAL EVENT AT NATIONALS PARK
200 I ST SE   
08/08/14 
DANIEL RILEY / OMAR BIAGAS; DANIEL RILEY; JOHN BIAGAS
E47247428 / SUPPLEMENTAL
37 L ST SE   
07/31/14 
GRETA SILVERMAN / JAMES SILVERMAN
B1410329 / CONSTRUCTION
UPGRADE EXISTING ROOF
601 L ST SE   
08/06/14 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / JOSEPH M MAGNOLIA
P1407161 / SUPPLEMENTAL
20 M ST SE   
08/06/14 
SOUTHEAST REALTY LLC /
P1407613 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
08/06/14 
SQUARE 743 INC /
P1407610 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
07/31/14 
SQUARE 743 INC. 100 M ST SE / PAUL THIEBERGER; SQUARE 743 INC 100 M ST SE; PAUL THIEBERGER
P83348948 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
08/16/14 
NORTHWOOD INVESTERS LLC / STANLEY HUBBARD; NORTHWOOD INVESTERS LLC; STANLEY HUBBARD
E14516088 / SUPPLEMENTAL
901 M ST SE   
08/14/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400642 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
1201 M ST SE   
08/14/14 
CARLTON RAY
AH1400641 / CONSTRUCTION
TO PERFORM TEMPORARY LANE CLOSURES
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
07/31/14 
SQUARE 742 LLC / SPRINT ADVANTAGE ENGINEERS
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08/12/14 
NJA ASSOCIATES LLC / COLIN CLARK
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1500 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
08/04/14 
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