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This Week: Virginia Ave. Tunnel, M St. Meetings, First Front Flick
May 20, 2012 11:30 AM
To allow you to properly plan your calendar for the week, I'm posting this nice and early:
* Virginia Avenue Tunnel
: Monday night is another public meeting
on the planned Virginia Avenue Tunnel reconstruction
, at which it's expected that DDOT, FHWA, and CSX will be presenting the concepts that have been chosen from the original batch
to study in detail as part of the project's EIS
. The meeting is at Nationals Park
at 6 pm.
And, speaking of the tunnel, the noise and vibration field studies required as part of the EIS will be happening this week
. (But no fair stomping on the ground and gunning your car's engines for hours at a time.)
* M Street SE/SW Transportation Study
: The meeting to update the public on the progress of the M Street SE/SW Transportation Study
is on Thursday, May 24, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm
at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW. The study area covers
the stretch of M from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW, along with the adjacent areas from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel. DDOT is looking at "how to integrate transit, bicycling and walking with motor vehicle traffic," while also trying to figure out how to balance residents' preferences for how M Street should be configured versus how visitors, workers, and commuters expect it to flow. The first meeting was in January
, and the final report is expected in the fall.
* Front Flicks
: If you are looking for something slightly more entertaining than either of the week's meetings, don't forget that the Capitol Riverfront BID's free Front Flicks Summer Outdoor Movie Series
begins this week on Thursday, with "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" leading off the lineup of treasure hunt-themed offerings. Movies start either at 8:45 pm/sundown at Tingey Plaza, just behind USDOT
at New Jersey and Tingey.
Alas, I won't be at any of these events, because first thing Tuesday I'm headed to the disabled list, to get some health issues dealt with that have been dragging me down for awhile now. There will be a few weeks of recovery time, so I ask all parties to please refrain from making any news before, say, mid-June, or at least make it something simple and/or something that won't require my attendance. (DDOT is already On Notice if they do indeed partially open the 11th Street Local bridge
when I can't document it.)
I imagine I'll reappear on Twitter
fairly quickly, since I know better than to think I can stay off the Internet while I'm doing little but laying around. But most likely the bulk of my narcotics-tinged/boredom-induced missives will be via my non-official @jacdupree
account, if you want the entertainment.
In the meantime, feel free to use this post's comments to discuss this week's meetings and as a general open thread, but I will be watching and popping in, so don't you kids think you can throw a wild party while Mom's not looking! And hopefully I'll be back to photo taking and other obsessive-compulsive pursuits before too long.
Ramp from M Street to Outbound 11th Street Freeway Opens Friday
May 17, 2012 2:23 PM
, news of another milestone in the 11th Street Bridges
"The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will open the newly constructed ramp
at the intersection of 11th Street and M Street, SE
to traffic on or about Friday, May 18. The new ramp will provide access from the M Street/Navy Yard area to the new outbound 11th Street Freeway Bridge and southbound I-295.
"Access to Historic Anacostia will remain on the old outbound 11th Street Bridge, until the new local bridge opens in the coming days. Existing inbound traffic movements from northbound I-295 to the M Street/ Navy Yard area will also remain the same."
So, don't drive down 11th Street south of M anymore if you're wanting to get to I-295 southbound, because that old ramp at N Street will now only take you via the old bridge directly into Anacostia on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Will be interesting to see how this works, and of course it will be equally interesting to see the new 11th Street Local bridge in action, "in the coming days." UPDATE, 5/18:
Dr. Gridlock says today on his blog
that the 11th Street Local bridge will be opening on Wednesday (May 23).
Upcoming Events: South on South Capitol, Science, Ballpark, More
May 16, 2012 8:49 PM
A few new events and happenings to mention, along with some reminders:
* South on South Capitol
: The Fairgrounds folks are launching a "South on South Capitol
" southern rock concert series, featuring local and regional country and southern rock bands, along with mechanical bull rides (!), food trucks, and the Bullpen bar. The first one is scheduled
for May 25, then June 22, July 27, and Aug. 24. (They're all Fridays.) Admission is free.
And, speaking of Fairgrounds, there's a corrected list of dates for their Sunday Family Days
, which are just once a month (next one on June 3).
* Science + You
: If you've wandered by the southeast corner of the Foundry Lofts
building just north of the Yards Park
, you may have already seen the Science + You
exhibit. It's geared toward kids ages 3-8, giving them the hands-on chance to "become scientists for a day." It's being managed by Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region
, and was developed by Kohl Children's Museum
in Chicago in cooperation with scientists from Abbott
. The web site has lots of photos of the various interactive stations
within the exhibit. It runs until Aug. 5, and is open
from 12:30-4 pm Tuesday-Friday and 10 am-4 pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.
* Ladies Night
: The Nats' first Ladies Night
of the 2012 season is Thursday (May 17), and they're going with a "Pretty in Pink" theme along with a Majestic women's apparel fashion show, drink specials, games, prizes, music, and whatnot. VIP tickets are $40 and include access to the party tent at 1st and Potomac from 5 to 7 pm along with special group seating. If you can't make the tent happy hour, you can buy a $25 ticket and enjoy the Scoreboard Pavilion festivities. (The tickets
include a $10 concession credit.)
* Bike to Work
: Friday, May 18 is Bike to Work Day
, and the Yards Park is one of the pit stops, from 7 to 9 am. Alas, the free t-shirts for the first 11,000 registrants have already been snapped up, but you probably already own a t-shirt or two anyway.
* Battle of the Beltways
: Be forewarned that the right-near-first-place (!) Orioles are coming to Nats Park
for a Friday-Sunday interleague series
, and so all three games will probably bring a lot of fans and traffic.
* Third Eye Blind
: I mentioned last week
about the Wallflowers being lined up for the 2nd of the NatsLive
free post-game concerts, and soon after the word went out
that Third Eye Blind would be playing the third concert
, on Aug. 18 after the Nats play the New York Mets. Dierks Bentley kicks off the series on June 2, and tickets for all three games are on sale
. (The concerts are free for game-ticket holders.)
Florida Rock Update at ANC 6D: Tweaked Designs, More Retail
May 16, 2012 7:56 AM
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, representatives of MRP Realty made a presentation showing the updates to the RiverFront on the Anacostia
project (aka Florida Rock) that they will be taking to the Zoning Commission later this year.
These designs are part of the quest to make changes to the original design approved by the commission in 2008
, chief of which is to switch the first phase of the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project from an office building to a 300ish-unit apartment building at 1st Street and Potomac Avenue, along with a series of other changes that I've written about previously
. (Dear heavens, don't make me write it all again.)
Here are the slides that were presented by the developers
, which should be of interest even without the accompanying narration. The renderings are much more detailed and "showier" than those given to the Zoning Commission back in February, which was part of what the developers were tasked with providing in their next go-round with the ZC.
Most obviously, the developers appear to have gotten the "more retail!" message that had been delivered pretty clearly at the last two
zoning commission sessions on the new design, with 18,650 square feet of retail now covering most of the first floor of the Phase I residential building, bumped up from 12,520 sf in the previous version (some of which the developers had been wanting to mark off for "temporary resident uses" until the market for retail in the area could be proven). The entire site is now designed to have 48,360 sf of retail, but this is still down from the 64,200 sf that was in the plans approved by the Zoning Commission back in 2008
. (This increase in retail also means that the "four red doors" facing Potomac Avenue that sent zoning commissioner Michael Turnbull through the roof back in February
are now gone.)
There was also much time spent on the designs for the public spaces that span the 5.5-acre site. With large lawns, wetlands-type areas that would actually be bio-filtration mechanisms, quieter tree-covered spaces, and a marina that could potentially have 40-50 slips, the additions could be seen as echoing the Yards Park
a couple blocks to the east.. But there are also some "beach" areas where sand would be placed, and a large sculpture could be included in the "Riverfront Plaza" at the foot of 1st Street. The esplanade is still a major part of the design, but there is no longer a separate bike path--pedestrians and cyclists would share the boardwalk as it runs through the entire site, from South Capitol Street to Diamond Teague Park
. And there may even be locations where some of the concrete blocks from the old concrete plant site would be incorporated into the public spaces.
I could write more about the specifics, but since the project will be back in front of ANC 6D looking for a resolution of support in July, and then at the Zoning Commission on Sept. 20, I'd prefer to save some words for the presentations to come.
I've added some of the renderings from this presentation
to my Florida Rock project page
. And, when looking at all of this, remember that the western two buildings (phases 3 and 4, an office building and a hotel), are not be able to be built until the new South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge
is built a bit to the south of the current bridge, which now runs directly through the Florida Rock footprint. And there's as yet no timeline for that new bridge.
ANC 6D Recap 2: Canal Park, Community Center, CSX Letter
May 15, 2012 1:35 PM
Moving from the "P" portion of Monday's ANC 6D meeting (pylons and parking
) to the "C"s:
* Canal Park
: Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave an update on construction, the bottom line of which has not changed from what's been mentioned the past few months, that because of unexpected issues, the park's opening has been delayed until November. Unmapped utilities that required a redesign of the stormwater management system have been a big stumbling block, but Vanarsdale also mentioned the soil-related difficulties when building on the site of an old canal. Construction is now 60 percent complete, and the work on the pavilion is almost done. Here are the presentation slides
, and you can also check out the official web site
for more details (along with my project page
). Oh, and they're thinking about offering Zamboni driving lessons!
* Community Center
: The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for an extension for construction of the planned Capper Community Center
, which already received one extension back in 2010
that 6D supported
. DCHA has apparently requested that the Zoning Commission act within 30 days on the request, news of which the ANC received on Monday. So the commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter urging postponement of the zoning case so that the ANC can address the request and form a response with a vote at next month's meeting. Commissioners Litsky and McBee also both commented that the project shouldn't be getting another extension.
Here is the letter sent on behalf of DCHA
to the Zoning Commission asking for the extension: it would be for two years, requiring building permits by July 1, 2014 and construction underway by July 1, 2015.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel
: The commissioners voted 6-0-1 to send this letter
to the appropriate parties laying out the ANC's opinion on the plans to reconfigure the Virginia Avenue Tunnel
. After listing the various ways that the proposed construction "would put people, homes, businesses, and fragile historic resources at risk," the letter states: "[W]e strongly believe that the best options for our community are for CSX to either leave the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in its current state (Concept 1) -- with the suggestion that if this option were chosen that the tunnel would be fully maintained for the safety of both the trains below and the communities above, or to reroute additional train traffic outside the District of Columbia [...] instead of in an expanded Virginia Avenue Tunnel." But, if the construction does occur, "it is absolutely imperative that the health and safety of our many residents, the economic and physical well-being of our businesses, parks, religious institutions, homes, and historic buildings, and the north-south access for all existing modes of transportation be preserved and enhanced." A number of Capitol Quarter
residents in attendance also spoke in support of the ANC's support. The next public meeting
on the plans for the tunnel will be May 21 at 6:30 pm at Nats Park.
One more recap post to go, probably tomorrow.
ANC 6D Recap 1: Water Pylons, and Parking
May 15, 2012 9:49 AM
It was a busy ANC 6D meeting on Monday night for Near Southeast-related issues, so I'm going to put it all in a series of posts:
* New Jersey Avenue Underpass Art
: The Capitol Riverfront BID
gave an update on the "Water Pylons" art installation, which is now moving forward after being "dormant" for about a year. This is the project partially funded by a grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities
that will paint and light the pylons holding up the Southeast Freeway in a "modern representation of water that announces New Jersey Avenue, SE as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront community." The reflective blue paint should go up in July, followed by light fixtures in August, and the installation should be dedicated in September, which will be right around the time that DCCAH moves into its new nearby digs at 225 Virginia/200 I
. Passers-by may note that new fences and LED overhead lighting have already been installed along New Jersey as part of the transformation of the underpass. The BID's presentation to the ANC, with more information about the project
, is here.
* Parking Parking Parking
: There was a discussion about issues with game-day parking
in the neighborhood, specifically the prohibition of parking along K and L streets, as well as other restrictions that have made residents unhappy. Damon Harvey of DDOT says that the agency is "reassessing" the current configuration, to figure out how to provide better access to residents while not allowing stadium-goers to then hog all the parking. He expects that changes will be announced in a month or so that will allow for "greater residential protection during games." One other non-game day change for residents has already gone into effect: meters are now turned off at 6:30 pm (but still 10 pm on game days).
However, those who came to the meeting hoping to hear about changes in the Residential Parking Permit system that would allow residents in the high-rise buildings west of Canal Park to park on the street throughout Ward 6 were disappointed, as DDOT continues to hold that large residential buildings in mixed-use neighborhoods will not qualify for RPP. (Harvey used the Ellington on U Street as a specific example of this being the case elsewhere in the city, but there are more buildings in this situation than just that one and the Near Southeast ones.)
Also, in somewhat related news the ANC unanimously passed a resolution protesting the plan in the mayor's new budget to redirect most performance parking
proceeds to other areas, such as Metro, rather than their being used as originally intended, to fund non-automotive transportation improvements in the neighborhood.
ANC 6D Monthly Meeting Comes to Near Southeast May 14 (Updated)
May 14, 2012 11:14 AM
For its May 14 business meeting, ANC 6D is venturing east of South Capitol Street, holding the session at the Courtyard by Marriott
at 140 L St., SE, starting at 7 pm. The full agenda isn't posted
yet, but a flyer sent around by chair Andy Litsky includes the following items: ANC 6D CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel
letter, Update on Canal Park
Construction, Discussion of Game Day Parking Issues, and New Jersey Avenue Public Art Piers (which I assume is the "Water Pylons
" project that the BID received a grant for a while back).
I bumped this to the top of the page as a reminder, since the meeting is tonight. The agenda has been posted
, and now includes an update on the Florida Rock/RiverFront
plans, in addition to the items mentioned above along with some issues of importance in Southwest and various races and events that want approval to come through the neighborhood(s).
Judging from a new case filed with the Office of Zoning, it looks like the Florida Rock folks are asking for a one-year time extension on their previously approved PUD, but I imagine that will all be discussed this evening.
UPDATE II: Should clarify that the original PUD extension was through June 27, 2012, which was going to be pretty hard to meet with their filings from earlier this year to change the first phase from office to residential still working through the process. This new request would give them until June of 2013 to either get their requested modifications approved, or revert back to the original approved plans.
Weekend Events: Truckeroo, Concert, Street Arts, Family Day
May 10, 2012 12:20 PM
Not much going on, so let's do a pre-weekend roundup, one day early to give you plenty of time to plan your schedule:
* Friday brings the first Truckeroo food truck festival
of 2012, from 11 am to 11 pm at the Fairgrounds at Half and M SE. Its Facebook page today
listed the truck lineup as including BBQ Bus, Big Cheese, Cajunators, Cap Mac, Chef Driven, Curbside Cupcakes, DC Empanadas, DC Slides, Doug the Food Dude, Hot People, Hula Girl, Tapas, Pleasant Pops, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Sinplicity, Sweetz Cheesecake, and Takorean.
* If you want to walk off some calories, you can also head to the Yards Park
for the Friday Evening Concert
, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. US Navy Band The Cruisers
will be the music act this week, and food will be by Red Apron Butchery, Buzz Bakery, and Luke's Lobster, with beverages by ChurchKey.
* Saturday brings the finale of the Kennedy Center's Street Arts Across America
festival with Street Arts in the Park
, a day-long event at the Yards Park
, from noon to 6 pm. The full lineup of music and events is available on the official web site
* On Sunday, the Fairgrounds will be celebrating Mother's Day with its first Family Day
, from 11 am to 4 pm, with "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks.
Admission for all of these events is free. And the forecast looks pretty sweet
And then the neighbors who live in that big building on South Capitol Street
will be returning to town on Monday, for a series against the Padres that includes a 1:05 pm game on Tuesday (which is also Weather Day
!), and then a weekend series against the Orioles, which should make for big crowds.
8th Street Exit Ramp from Southeast Freeway Closing May 10
May 9, 2012 12:37 PM
DDOT is announcing
that the the 8th Street exit ramp from the westbound Southeast/Southwest freeway is closing permanently on May 10 at approximately 10 am.
This is the ramp that drivers use coming from Pennsylvania Avenue and Barney Circle, not
the one used for 8th Street when coming inbound from the 11th Street Bridge
The closure is happening because the new flyover for traffic coming westbound from from the 11th Street freeway bridge will be bringing traffic onto the westbound freeway via a ramp that runs right across the 8th Street exit site (this photo of the ramp
as seen from 11th Street from back in January shows on the far left where the 8th Street exit is and why it's having to be closed).
The Marines can't be too unhappy about this closure, since the ramp runs right between the two halves of Building 20, which isn't exactly a prime security configuration.
In the press release, DDOT also says that it expects the new ramp connecting Southbound DC-295 (on the east side of the river) with the inbound 11th Street Freeway Bridge (I-695) to open by July 4, and that this "will have a direct connection to I Street at 10th Street, SE" (which is where the current ramp from the inbound 11th Street Bridges is).
As to when/how the other new ramp
that will bring traffic up to 11th Street from the Pennsylvania Avenue/Southeast Freeway connector will open, I don't know. There are a lot of traffic flow changes are coming to 11th Street between I and O over the next few months--the new ramp to the outbound freeway bridge from M just east of 11th is looking closer to completion, as is the 11th Street Local bridge. If only someone would get over there to take some photos of the progress! (Well, I did take *one
One of DDOT's spiffy videos detailing all the new movements sure would be handy about now.
The Wallflowers Playing NatsLive Post-Game Concert July 21
May 8, 2012 12:34 PM
The Nats have created "NatsLive
" this year, a series of three post-game concerts that are free to any ticketholders to that day's game. The June 2 concert with Dierks Bentley
had already been announced, but today the news is bopping around Twitter that The Wallflowers
will be playing the second concert, on July 21st. (Both games are versus the Atlanta Braves.) No act yet announced for the third date, Aug. 18 against the Mets. Game tickets for all three dates are already on sale
M Street SE/SW Transportation Study Public Meeting May 24
May 8, 2012 9:08 AM
DDOT has announced
that a meeting to update the public on the progress of the M Street SE/SW Transportation Study
has been scheduled for May 24, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I St. SW.
The study area covers
the stretch of M from 12th Street, SE to 14th Street, SW, along with the adjacent areas from the Southeast/Southwest Freeway south to the Anacostia River/Washington Channel. DDOT is looking at "how to integrate transit, bicycling and walking with motor vehicle traffic," while also trying to figure out how to balance residents' preferences for how M Street should be configured versus how visitors, workers, and commuters expect it to flow.
The first meeting, back in January
, included an introduction to the study before attendees broke up into small groups to give feedback about the issues they feel need addressing.
According to the web site
, a draft study report is expected this summer, with the final report and a final public meeting coming in the fall.
Weekend of Natitude, OurPark, Metropocalypse, Etc.
May 4, 2012 9:28 AM
It's official! The city has declared May 4-6 to be Natitude Weekend
, and the Nats have even festooned the Center Field Gate with a new Natitude Park sign
. All of this to work at Taking Back the Park from the hordes of Phillies fans that will, despite best efforts
, be once again descending on the neighborhood. (Though perhaps they should remember the spankings their team got the last time the teams played, during the final few games of the 2011 season.)
So, residents should be aware that there will be a whole lot more people in the area than for any game since the home opener. The schedule:
* Tonight (Friday, May 4), 7:05 pm.
* Saturday, 1:05 pm.
* Sunday, 8:05 pm. (A rare Sunday night game time, since ESPN has chosen the game for Sunday Night Baseball.)
And, as if getting to and from the neighborhood won't be congested enough, Metro has decided to go forward with a weekend of heavy track work
, despite pleas
from riders groups concerned about not only the Nats/Phillies game but also the Caps/Flyers game at the Verizon Center at 12:30 pm Saturday. For the Green Line, Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville stations will be closed, and buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and Fort Totten, but there's work on all the other lines
And, even though the game isn't until Sunday night, there are also two midday events in the neighborhood that day that might be drawing people: the LivingSocial Dodgeball Tournament
at the Yards Park
and the Kennedy Center's "Lunchtime Invasion
" street arts event at the Fairgrounds from 11:30 to 1:30.
Next Virginia Avenue Tunnel Public Meeting May 21
May 4, 2012 9:06 AM
, just posted on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project web site
, announces that the next public meeting about the project will be on May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park
. "During this public meeting, the concepts to move forward in the EIS will be announced." Read my post from Wednesday
for more information on the whole EIS thing, and this one from the last meeting
to find out more about the initial concepts that were looked at, and that will form the basis for the ones chosen to be studied further.
Fairgrounds Announces Truckeroo Dates, Sunday Family Days
May 3, 2012 10:22 AM
As the Fairgrounds
prepares to begin its daily hours on May 4, the outdoor event space just north of Nationals Park
at Half and M is also starting to promote some of its non-gameday offerings:
* The Truckeroo
food truck festival will be back for another year, on five Fridays this summer
: May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, and Sept. 28, running from 11 am to 11 pm each time.
* There will also be a new "Family Day" event, with a promo flyer
describing it as having "carnival games and prizes, inflatable and mechanical rides, children's entertainers and live musicians," plus food trucks. Admission will be free, and scheduled dates so far are May 13, May 27, June 3, June 10, and June 24, from 11 am to 4 pm.
All have been added to my Events Calendar
, for future reference.
(Perhaps this is also good timing to finally link to this Housing Complex post
from last week showing what the site could look like if it ends up with advertising on the sides of the shipping containers, which WCP says Fairgrounds was soliciting.)
Study of Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project Switches to EIS Format
May 3, 2012 8:51 AM
Earlier this week the Federal Highway Administration and DDOT gave notice
that the in-process National Environmental Policy Act
study of CSX's Virginia Avenue Tunnel project will be switching mid-stream from an Environmental Assessment to a more detailed Environmental Impact Statement study.
Since the outcome of an EA is often the instigation of an EIS, this is probably serving mainly to speed up the process and get started on an EIS that most likely would have been needed anyway. The NEPA web site
mentions that "[i]f a federal agency anticipates that an undertaking may significantly impact the environment, or if a project is environmentally controversial, a federal agency may choose to prepare an EIS without having to first prepare an EA," both of which would certainly seem to be ways this project could be described.
If you want to see how extensive an EIS can be, check out the ones completed for the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction
and the planned South Capitol Street corridor improvements
already gathered and feedback
already garnered during the EA process will be incorporated into the EIS. CSX representatives tell me that they expect the switch to add about six months to the environmental review process, and the project's web site
now has a Spring 2013 date listed for the Final EIS/record of decision. CSX has always wanted the project to be done in 2015, to coincide with the opening of the expanded Panama Canal, but that timeline is starting to look a bit dicey given that construction has been expected to take 2-3 years.
The public meeting to unveil the chosen "alternative" designs that the EIS is studying is currently being planned. You can read my write-up from the last meeting
to see more about the initial group of concept designs, which ranged from expanding the tunnel to building a separate parallel tunnel to leaving the tunnel untouched to
closing it and having CSX reroute all their traffic
rerouting the double-stack traffic and through traffic out of the city (UPDATED
to fix my mistake--there is no proposal that would close the tunnel altogether). (It probably isn't hard to guess which alternatives are preferred by the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association
, with CQ's homes on Virginia Avenue standing mere feet away from any construction.) UPDATE
: It's been requested that I mention that, while the CQ HoA letter above lists a group of possible signatories, at least three of them (ANC 6B, Barracks Row Main Street, and the Committee of 100) have all already voted against co-signing the letter.
For those blissfully unaware of this project (I wish!), CSX is needing to expand the 105-year-old tunnel that runs beneath Virginia Avenue between 2nd and 12th streets, SE so that a second track can be added and double-height cars can be accommodated. With initial plans calling for the extended closure of Virginia Avenue and a temporary track in an open trench to run trains through during construction, residents on both sides of the freeway have been greatly concerned about how the work will be designed and carried out, which then spurred DDOT to request a formal environmental review (despite this being a project being carried out by a private entity on a right-of-way that they own some of).
My pile of posts over the past few years
on the subject may also be enlightening, or may not.
UPDATE: This flyer just posted
on the VirginiaAvenueTunnel.com web site says that the next public meeting, announcing which concepts will be looked at in the EIS, is scheduled for May 21 from 6 to 8 pm at Nationals Park.
Toll Brothers Buys Velocity Sibling Site, Will Build Residential
May 2, 2012 11:08 AM
I've learned today that mega-developer Toll Brothers
has purchased the Square 699N land directly north of the Velocity Condos
building on 1st Street SE for $24 million, with the intention of building a 250ish-unit residential building.
This land has been owned by the Cohen Companies since their purchase of the entire block
bounded by 1st, Half, K, and L in 2005.
In fact, the garage and below-grade structure for the Toll Brothers lot is already built--that's why you see all the funny beige boxes on the land, covering vent shafts and other infrastructure items. Cohen had planned to move forward with a sibling for Velocity soon after it completed the condo building, but that never came to fruition.
This would be Toll Brothers's first building in DC proper, I believe, but they have plenty of offerings in the Metro area
. And, as I found out today, they don't just do single-family homes (White Flint Station
is an example of a condo building of theirs in the area). UPDATE:
SWill from across the way mentions in the comments that TB bought White Flint Station after it was completed and converted it to condos from apartments. Apologies for the assumption.
More to come on this, I'm sure. And it will no doubt be seen as another indication of the strength of Near Southeast's residential market.
[And I should add that Cohen still owns the third lot on the block, along Half Street.]
Sale of Two JPI Buildings Completed - But What About 70 I?
May 1, 2012 8:38 PM
A press release sent out on Tuesday is trumpeting
the sales of two of the buildings in the "Capitol Yards" lineup, 909 New Jersey
and the Axiom at 100 I Street
, the completion of a pending deal that I first wrote about in January
. However, back then, residents in Axiom's sibling, the Jefferson at 70 I, were also notified that their building was under contract, but that deal apparently didn't complete with the other two. The 448-unit Jefferson was the priciest of the three offers, at about $165 million, compared to about $94 million for the 245-unit Axiom and $95 million for the 237-unit 909.
Did the Jefferson's residents go out back with metal detectors and find the $165 million needed to purchase the property themselves? Or are there a few more i's to dot and t's to cross to finish the deal? Or is something else afoot?
In the 100 I and 909 New Jersey sales, the buyers are "institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management."
The three buildings were completed by JPI back in 2008 and 2009, but the recession hit the company hard and eventually two of its executives boltered to partner with folks from Akridge to form
the Jefferson Apartment Group
. But 70/100/909 apparently
remained part of JPI
's holdings, as did the empty lot at 23 I Street where JPI's fourth apartment building had been planned, until it was foreclosed upon
and picked up by Ruben Companies in late 2009. The three buildings, completed in 2008 and 2009, have been managed by Greystar
ever since JPI sold its property management division to the company.
I'm hearing chatter that residents of 70 I did form a tenant association to attempt to buy the building themselves, which then adds some additional time to the deal to allow the residents to find financing to match the initial offer. Anyone from the building want to chime in?
Nats Homestand: Bryce Harper's DC Debut and Park-Taking-Back
May 1, 2012 10:14 AM
After a west coast swing that sputtered a bit at the end, the Nationals return home
today for the rest of the week, starting with a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks before the weekend's touted Take Back the Park
games against the Phillies.
The $2 tickets for tonight's game against the D-backs sold out pretty quickly once it was known that this would be 19-year-old Bryce Harper's first home game in the big leagues, but it is the first night of MLB All-Star balloting
, with Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, Rick Ankiel, Michael Morse, and Jayson Werth all on the ballot. Wednesday is $1 Hot Dot Night
, and Thursday May 3 is a "drawstring backpack" giveaway for the first 20,000 fans (Half Street entrance only) as part of "MLB Network Day."
Look for big crowds over the weekend during the Phillies series
, and note that the traditional Sunday post-game "Kids Run the Bases" offering will be on Saturday this week, since the Sunday game is a rare 8:05 pm start (thanks to it being ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball game). Also, the Fairgrounds
will reopen on Friday, at 11:30 am.
Before Sunday night's game, the six newest members of the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame
will be honored. At the top of the list is the late WUSA sportscaster Glenn Brenner, who you DC newbies would not remember but who was much beloved
before he died of a brain tumor in 1992. Other inductees include NBA star Adrian Dantley (who lived across the street from me on the DC side of Western Avenue back in the day), Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, Joe Gallagher of St. John's College High School, journalist Sam Lacy, and UDC's Bessie Stockard.
If you haven't ventured to the stadium yet this season, my Visiting Nats Park page
will give you information and links on how to get there, and what there is to eat and see nearby.
Yards Park Friday Evening Concert Series Begins May 4
Apr 26, 2012 11:53 AM
The Yards Park
folks are announcing today
that the annual Yards Park Friday Evening Concert Series
will be back again for 2012, running for an expanded 20 weeks, from May 4 through Sept. 14.
New this year is that the lineup of musical acts is going to be selected by OnTap Magazine
, and that food will be provided by Red Apron Butchery
, Buzz Bakery
, and ChurchKey. (Buzz Bakery is one of the tenants slated to come to the Boilermaker Shops
, and of course ChurchKey
is the sibling of Boilermaker's Bluejacket
The food options are described thusly by the press release: "Red Apron, a small-batch producer of locally-made and handcrafted charcuterie from Chef Nate Anda, will serve a variety of artisan hot dogs with housemade condiments. Buzz Bakery, a bakery and coffee shop led by award-winning Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac, will offer seasonal treats such as baked goods, ice cream, popsicles and fresh juices. Greg Engert, who manages the beverage programs at Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Rustico and other area restaurants, will oversee a weekly rotating selection of hand-selected craft draft beers and wines." There will also be a rotating lineup of second food vendors each week, such as familiar food trucks Stix, BBQ Bus, Luke's Lobster, Dutch Mill Catering and Doug the Food Dude.
The music will be a "wide range" of styles, including jazz, Top 40, country, salsa, and reggae.
Wednesday Tidbits: Osteen, Groundskeeping, and More
Apr 25, 2012 10:09 AM
After the flurry of the past few months, real news is taking a bit of a breather. In the meantime, here's some reading material I've scraped up, so that it doesn't look like I've completely quit working:
* Joel Osteen Ministries' "America's Night of Hope
" is coming to Nationals Park
on Saturday--here's the Washington Post's story on Osteen and the plans for the event
. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the festivities start at 7 pm, if you're wanting to plan your evening around the crowds. If you're coming to the neighborhood for it, my Visiting Nats Park page
can help you find your way.
* Want to know how the Nats Park field is cared for, and who takes care of it? The Post profiles head groundskeeper John Turnour
and his work.
* A reader tells WashCycle
about being stopped from biking on the Navy Yard portion of the Riverwalk
. That promenade has always been signed as prohibiting bicycling, but with increased publicity for using the Riverwalk as a biking trail (including Tuesday's ribbon cutting of the new bridge across the CSX tracks
), the issue of bicycles along the Navy Yard
stretch is going to keep bubbling up, perhaps even moreso when the new 11th Street Local bridge
opens soon with its wide pedestrian/cycling paths making the connection between both sides of the river even easier.
* Speaking of that new 11th Street Local bridge
, much streetscape work has been done recently on O Street (new pavement, curbs, and brick paver crosswalks), and it looks like the concrete should be poured before too long to complete the connection from O to where the bridge begins to rise above the river. Maybe I'll actually get over there with my camera soon.
* Speaking of streetscapes, there's a new sidewalk on L Street
between 1st and New Jersey, to go with the new sidewalk on Half between I and K
* The Capitol Riverfront BID would love it if you'd fill out either their residential survey
(if you live in the neighborhood) or the employee survey
if you work here.
* Jonathan O'Connell at WaPo looks at how developer Opus East hit the skids
, right as it was trying to finish 1015 Half Street
. (Opus was also the developer behind 100 M
, but it was completed before everything truly fell apart.)
* The Mayor is having a Ward 6 Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Town Hall Meeting tonight (April 25) at 6:30 pm at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street.
* The next meeting of Police Service Area 106
is on Saturday, April 28, at 10 am at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE.
What else is going on?
Adding a link to Washington City Paper's profile
of "The Nautical Yards", a "site-specific dance and theater piece inspired by the Washington Navy Yard" being performed at the Yards Park
Thursday through Saturday (April 26-29) at 7 pm. Premium seating is $30
, general admission is free.
And I should probably remind that tickets for Springsteen at Nats Park on Sept. 14 go on sale Friday
(April 27) at 10 am.