Updated Bikeshare Usage Maps for Near Southeast's Three Docks
Sep 26, 2012 8:53 AM
With some free time for the first time in quite a while, I finally got around to including Bikeshare's Trip History Data for the first half of 2012 in my app that maps the usage
of the neighborhood's three docks at 1st and N, New Jersey and M, and the 1st and K station that came online in February.
You can choose
a station, a year, a month, or an exact date, and whether you want to see outbound or inbound traffic, and you'll get presented with a pile of pushpins showing the other stations that people rode to or from.
As with the 2011 data
, Union Station is the top destination/origin, followed by 4th & M SW, and Eastern Market Metro Plaza, with the two stations north of the freeway on 3rd Street SE and the south Barracks Row/8th and I dock also getting a fair amount of use. (News flash: Bikeshare is used most often for short trips!)
Plans Submitted for a 1st Street Hotel, With Interesting Details
Sep 16, 2012 1:35 PM
Late last week, "Capital Riverfront Hotel LLC" * submitted to the Zoning Commission plans for a 167ish-room hotel on the small L-shaped lot that the Welch family has owned for a number of years at 1st and N Streets just north
of Nationals Park
According to documents submitted as part of the required Capitol Gateway Overlay Review
, the development would have no ground-floor retail along either 1st or N.
Also, the developers are requesting that they be able to provide zero below-ground or on-site parking instead of the 44 spaces that would be required by current zoning regulations, saying that the hotel would provide valet parking services, and also would emphasize the building's location near Metro, Circulator, and other transit options.
(Needless to say, it would be interesting to see exactly how valet service on 1st just north of N would work during a sold-out baseball game going on a few feet to the south, given how 1st fills up with traffic heading toward the parking lots at the Yards.)
As seen in the above rendering, the site for the proposed hotel wraps around the two-story retail building that has been proposed as part of its 660,000-square-foot Ballpark Square development
that I've written about over the past few months, which would have its own 170ish-unit hotel, positioned between a 224,000-square-foot office building fronting M Street and a 285ish-unit residential building toward the south end of the street, as well as the retail building, separated from the rest by the Welch lot.
Recently "Ballpark Square LLC and SCD Acquisitions LLC" (which appears to be a team headed by Grosvenor, with Skanska and McCaffery Interests also on board) submitted updated designs for that project in advance of its Oct. 1 zoning hearing, in which the residential building just to the north of the L-shaped lot has had its U-shaped design reconfigured to open to the south, giving residents in the courtyard-facing units some amount of a view toward Nats Park. Which of course would completely disappear if the hotel were to be built right up against the property line. (You can compare the white box in the top rendering to the red-brick building at the right of this rendering to place the proposed hotel's location vis-a-vis the residential building.)
The updated filing by Grosvenor et al even gives oblique reference to the goings-on, saying "As will be discussed at the hearing, the Applicant is exploring alternative residential layouts to address the potential future development of the parcel to the south of the residential component."
It does lead one to wonder what if anything might be going on behind the scenes between the two parties. And also exactly how the Zoning Commission might feel about the hotel's designs as initially submitted.
* Points immediately deducted for the wrong spelling of Capitol.
Another Residential Building on the Boards at the Yards (Updated)
Sep 14, 2012 3:20 PM
With the Foundry Lofts
having quickly reached 100 percent leasing earlier this year, and construction underway on the Twelve12
residential building with a Harris Teeter at 4th and M, it's interesting to hear that Forest City is starting to move on its next residential project at the Yards
, an 11-story 325ish-unit rental building right next door to the Foundry Lofts, on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey
(where a parking lot now resides, across from the Trapeze School). That would also put it just to the south of the under-construction Boilermaker Shops
retail pavilion and kitty
-corner from Twelve12.
That's all I know at this point--more will be revealed as the bureaucratic hoops are jumped through.
With thanks to Z. in the comments, here are some renderings, via the slides for the upcoming NCPC presentation
, which has additional details. Note how the height of the building steps up so that it's not at its full 11-story height directly next to the six-story Foundry Lofts. And remember, these are just the 35 percent drawings--details are still to be fleshed out, and perhaps changed.
The view on the left is looking down 4th at Tingey
; the right is looking pretty much from the Lumber Shed/Yards Park to the northeast.
Also worth mentioning, the design calls for 21,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and 250-300 parking spaces in a three-level underground garage.
The Smokestack, Getting De-Smoked
Sep 13, 2012 3:56 PM
A moment many people have been looking forward to (but which at least one person might be lamenting):
Yes, demolition has started on the smokestack at the DPW/Trash Transfer station at New Jersey and K. It'll take a few days, I was told, so you have a little more time to say goodbye.
Check back in a few, when I'll have some additional photos in the main photo archive (UPDATE
: here's a few, from New Jersey and K
). But here's a couple more showing the first bite taken out of the top of Ye Olde Smokestack:
Updated Photos From Under-Construction Projects, Finally
Sep 12, 2012 9:28 AM
Isn't it great that the icky humid cloudy weather of the past few weeks finally broke? Aren't the skies glorious and blue? Does that mean I finally got to get out to take some photos? Why, yes!
First up are new photos from ground level at Canal Park
, including the new L Street streetscape and the sculptures:
If you're big on Canal Park, you may also be interested in the many before-and-afters in the Canal Park Expanded Photo Archive
, which leads off with the first decent bunch of photos from 2nd Place and L Street
since construction started on the park many moons ago and then takes you on a before-and-after walk around the park's perimeter.
If these all aren't enough for you, you can spend some time in the Photo Archive
, where you pick the intersection you want to see and then you can see the entire range of photos I've taken for all angles or just the ones of your choice. You may even end up in the Photo Archive without realizing it, if you click on the
icon on any of the pages above, which also will give you the full range of photos for that angle. It's pretty much the Near Southeast equivalent of heading down the rabbit hole.
Work Starting Soon on Eventual Southeast Boulevard
Sep 11, 2012 2:49 PM
An advisory sent out by DDOT this afternoon (now online
) has announced some upcoming changes to the traffic flow on the Southeast Freeway east of 8th Street, SE, as the work begins to get underway for the creation of the new at-grade boulevard that will take traffic to and from the Southeast Freeway and Barney Circle.
Starting Monday, Sept. 17, after morning rush hour, westbound traffic from Barney Circle to the freeway on the current below-grade lanes will be reduced to a single lane. By November, DDOT says, the westbound lanes will be closed completely, and by January the eastbound lanes will be, too.
DDOT also says that, starting Monday, vehicles will no longer be permitted to turn left from southbound 17th Street SE to reach the restricted access lanes under Barney Circle.
Over an 18- to 20-month period, the below-grade area between 8th and 13th streets SE will be raised about 20 feet, and the new boulevard will be created, as seen in this DDOT graphic
. Since 11th Street currently crosses the below-grade lanes on a bridge, this means that that "bridge" will become an at-grade roadway as well.
And, speaking of that section of 11th Street, the advisory says that the new entrance to the westbound Southeast Freeway from 11th Street will open by Thanksgiving, allowing people on the eastern side of the Hill to get on the freeway at 11th rather than taking Virginia Avenue all the way to the 3rd Street SE ramp.
This work is all part of the now-funded $90 million second phase
of the 11th Street Bridges project
, and also will include a new three-lane outbound bridge from the SE/SW Freeway to the 11th Street/I-695 bridge. In addition, 12th Street SE will be extended north from M Street to connect to the new Boulevard, and there will also be a reconfiguring of Barney Circle itself.
In the meantime, work continues on the many Phase 1 connections still being built, including a new off-ramp on the east side of the river from northbound DC-295 to the new 11th Street Local Bridge, which should be opening by the end of this month. Quoting DDOT: "This will allow Navy Yard morning rush-hour commuters coming from Suitland Parkway and northbound I-295 with more of a direct route to their facility as well as local traffic direct access to Historic Anacostia. Traffic will exit on the Anacostia side of the river, travel across the 11th Local Street Bridge and enter the Navy Yard at the O Street Gate."
The much-anticipated ramp to northbound DC-295 from the outbound I-695 bridge is expected to open by Thanksgiving.
Inside the Boilermaker Shops, Under Construction
Sep 6, 2012 12:52 PM
at the Boilermaker Shops, the World War I industrial building at the Yards
that Forest City is adapting into a retail and office space. And today I was able to see the interior
for the first time since 2007, with camera in hand, of course.
None of the tenant spaces are looking like their final versions yet, but it's still cool to check out the bones before the spaces really get going with their installations. Though I sure wish it hadn't been pouring rain, to get a better sense of how much more natural light will come into these spaces when the sun is out. Next time....
The photo gallery
shows the spaces where Bluejacket Brewery (above), Buzz Bakery, Willie's Brew and Que (below left), Huey's 24-7 Diner, and Wells Dry Cleaners will be, along with the office space being built out on a new second floor that runs along much of the interior of the building (below right) and some of the as-yet unleased sections.
There are no official opening dates for any of the tenants, though it sounds like the dry cleaners will be the first to open (yay...?). Bluejacket has previously announced they are shooting for an early 2013 opening.
For additional information, including lots of (not especially new) photos of the exterior from when the sun is actually out, see my Boilermaker Shops project page
I also tossed in a photo of the hole in the ground
where Twelve12 4th
will be sprouting, to be home to apartments and Harris Teeter. I was told that they've dug as deep as they're going to go, and pile work is next on the agenda.
Also, I was going to grouse about why I don't take photos when the weather is bad by pointing to this batch I shot along L Street
catching the homestretch progress at Capitol Quarter
, but strangely enough most of the "before" shots aren't exactly under bright blue skies. Juggling a camera and an umbrella is not my cup of tea, though.
Nationals Park, Five Years Ago Today
Sep 1, 2012 11:42 AM
Back in this era, I wasn't doing single-page photo galleries on days like this, so I tossed together this new gallery of the best shots of the day
. It's interesting to think about everything that's changed in only five years--not only the field itself, but the team on the field, and everything surrounding it.
Restaurant Permit Application at 100 M; Gordon Biersch, Finally?
Aug 31, 2012 10:38 AM
A building permit application has been filed with DCRA for an "interior alteration for new restaurant" at 100 M Street
, one block north of Nationals Park at the corner of 1st and M SE.
The application information as seen online doesn't give any specifics of the applicant, but I wouldn't be surprised that this is at last the signal that brewery/restaurant Gordon Biersch
is indeed coming to this corner ground-floor retail space in the 220,000-square-foot office building, as was first rumored last October
I know absolutely nothing more than this, and perhaps now the hounds will now be released to get something confirmed. But no matter what tenant ends up in there, a restaurant in that space will be most welcomed by residents and fans.
(I'm guessing a by-the-playoffs timeline might be a bit aggressive, though.)
UPDATE: Meant to include that the application mentions 236 seats indoors, and 94 outdoors. And remember, this is still just an application, it's not approved yet.
When It's Time to Change, You've Got to Rearrange
Aug 30, 2012 9:27 AM
After nearly a decade of documenting the changes in Near Southeast DC, the time has come for some change of my own, as I've decided to dial back the intensity of my blogging at JDLand.
Astute readers have probably already noticed the beginnings of a shift over the past few months, but it's time to make an official declaration of intent.
Since I've always been a historian at heart, I'll still write about the neighborhood's major moments, its new developments and other big arrivals. (Call it Milestone Blogging.) But while sometimes my output won't really seem that different from what it's been, it won't always be with the speed I prided myself on in the past, and I probably won't post about all the tiny steps in a project's road to fruition.
But the day-to-day life-in-a-neighborhood stuff and aggregation-type "tidbit" and event items will mostly fall by the wayside on the blog, though should continue on Twitter
, where a mouse click or two can get the word out easily. And really, it's not so much me giving it up as it is finally admitting that I mostly gave it up already and have no intention of getting back to it.
When I started back in 2003, there were few places to get information about Near Southeast. (Remember, there wasn't even a ballpark back then--South Capitol Street was just one of four potential locations for a team that no one ever really thought would come to town.) The major news outlets might publish something once in a while, and there was the monthly Hill Rag and the late Voice of the Hill, but if I really wanted to know what was going on with development plans, I had to dig pretty deeply for it myself.
Now, as the neighborhood becomes a destination, not only for Nats
fans but also for people heading to the Yards Park
or other spots, coverage of goings-on in the area has expanded considerably. Plus, the number of outlets
has expanded considerably--not only are there the newspapers and TV stations, but all manner of web sites covering development, entertainment, nightlife, food, urbanism, and whatnot. And then you have Twitter/Facebook feeds coming directly from developers, and the BID, and the restaurants, and the parks, and the politicians, and the city, and the residents....
With all that easily accessible information, my original goal of posting the things I dug up so that other people wouldn't have to do the digging seems pretty outmoded, and it makes it hard for me to keep doing what my brain tells me isn't really "needed." (I'm just not wired to be mostly an aggregator.)
There's probably all sorts of ways that the site could evolve to keep up with this high-volume new world, but there's also the reality that, after years of pretty intense commitment, I am starting to want to do other things, and to perhaps find some other kewl new concept to channel my energies to. But it can be hard to let your mind wander enough to figure out The Next Thing when you're still buried in The Current Thing.
Plus, there are now some new realities in my life that aren't leaving quite so much room for JDLand.
I hope that, by stepping back a bit from the content firehose, I can find a comfortable niche to continue writing about and photographing Near Southeast's continuing redevelopment, especially since I think I still have a lot to contribute in terms of "institutional knowledge" of how the area has evolved.
This probably would have happened awhile ago if it hadn't been for all of the great interest and feedback I've had during this amazing ride, and all of you have my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all the interest and support. I've often described blogging as "whistling into the wind," but the incredible amount of positive response this little endeavor has received over the years has truly been what's kept me going. (It certainly ain't the money!)
I do hope some folks will continue to stick around as I transition into this new Blogger Emeritus role. After all, the comments threads are always open!
So, this isn't a goodbye. It's more like a necessary nod to the fact that things change, and it's time to allow JDLand--and JD--to change too.
How to Have a Less-Than-Optimal Yards Park Experience
Aug 24, 2012 10:10 AM
Opera in the Outfield Returns Sept. 29 to Nats Park
Aug 24, 2012 9:39 AM
For the fifth year in a row, the Washington Opera is hosting its Opera in the Outfield simulcast
at Nationals Park
, offering up Mozart's Don Giovanni on Sept. 29 at 7 pm. Gates open at 5 pm, and since this year's event is sponsored by M&Ms, there's a chance to meet the Chief Chocolate Officer of M&Ms, Miss Brown, in addition to the de rigeur showing of Bugs Bunny's What's Opera, Doc? and other pre-game activities.
It's free and open to the public without advance tickets, though if you register, you'll have a chance to win a Night at the Kennedy Center package. There's also a pre-show party in the Stars & Stripes club, brought to you by MyTix and Brightest Young Things. More information on all activities and logistics here
Mozart will of course be the second ancient mastermind of lengthy musical events to have his music blasted from the Nats Park sound system in September, following on the heels of Bruce Springsteen's concert on Sept. 14
Keeping the Metro Open For Late Games at Nats Park
Aug 23, 2012 9:48 PM
I probably should be posting about this week's kerfuffle over keeping the subway open
when games at Nationals Park
But, as a snarky blogger, it's also pretty much my duty to say "If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now!"
It's also much more fun and much less work!
Fitness Club Files Building Permit Application for Capitol Hill Tower Retail Space
Aug 23, 2012 2:26 PM
Today a building permit application was filed for a new tenant layout in the retail space on New Jersey Avenue at Capitol Hill Tower
between the Georgetown medical space and the Courtyard by Marriott. The permit application says: "Construction of Boxing-Fitness Club located on the lobby level approx 2685 sq. ft. as per plans." Whispers I'd been hearing about this have said that the boxing is kickboxing, but until the (as yet unmasked) tenant steps forward, people will probably have to settle for wild speculation. So have at it!
More as I get it.
New Glimpses into the Getting-a-Bit-Distant M Street Past
Aug 23, 2012 9:29 AM
A most interesting and welcome present arrived in my inbox recently: a reader passed along four photos taken in 1990 or 1991 shot from what clearly is the old Defense Mapping Agency/National Geospatial Intelligence Agency building at 1st and M
, looking out over the streetscape of a veeery different neighborhood than what exists today. It was during the construction of the Navy Yard Metro station, and you'll see what a war zone M Street was for drivers and pedestrians.
But don't stop with the color photos at the top of the page
. The rest of the page has a series of overhead images from the Library of Congress archive, taken in 1992, showing many of the same locations as the "new" color shots, along with some other spots, matched where possible with my images of the not-yet demolished buildings. I posted them almost two years ago, but I'm sure they're new to plenty of people.
If you happen to have taken any photos of the neighborhood from pre-2003 that you'd like to share, I'd love to see them. Feel free to pass them along via whatever venue you might prefer--Facebook
, e-mail (dc at jdland dot com), Flickr link, etc.
ANC Races: Three Near Southeast Residents Running in Two SMDs
Aug 22, 2012 9:23 AM
If you weren't desperately refreshing the DCBOEE page during the past two weeks, you may not be aware that the official list of candidates for ANC offices
came out while I was away. The lineup, pending any challenges that might knock someone out:
In 6D07 (in dark bluish purple in the map at right), incumbent David Garber is running unopposed after another potential candidate didn't return the required signed petitions before the deadline.
In the new cross-South Capitol ANC 6D02 (dark green on the map), the two previously mentioned
candidates, Ed Kaminski and Damon Patton, both qualified for the ballot. This means that the single member district, which spans South Capitol between Southeast and Southwest and runs from I Street SE down to and including Nationals Park
, will have a Southeast resident as commissioner, no matter who wins.
(Plus, of course, some enterprising pol could launch a write-in campaign if the current lineup doesn't measure up to said enterprising pol's standards.)
I anticipate that at some point between now and Election Day I will throw questionnaires at the candidates, like I did in 2010
, to try to get past the general campaign-speak to find out some specifics about their positions on matters of interest in Southeast (and Southwest, for that matter).
Tuesday Tidbits: More Post-Vacation Catching Up to Do
Aug 21, 2012 10:25 AM
Here's a few more items that came across the transom while I was on my annual Hiding Out in Wyoming and Montana trip
* Residents of Onyx
have filed paperwork with the city under the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act
and are investigating options to buy the building themselves, after news came a few weeks back that the building is under contract to be sold
for $82.5 million. If the city accepts the filing, the tenants' group would then have 120 days to come up with a competing offer. See the tenants' press release
for why the group is pursuing this, including its hope that buying the building, which opened in 2009, will "reverse problems which plagued the area for years - poor housing conditions, rent increases, and attempts by developers to force residents out of the District." (If they succeed, I guess I'll have to stop using my standard joke about tenants looking in the sofa cushions for millions of dollars in spare change to buy their buildings.)
* DC Water has leased 16,450 square feet of office space on the 7th floor of 80 M Street through 2019 (GlobeSt.com
). With or without telescopes for spying on the Main Pumping Station
a few blocks to the south?
* The Capitol Riverfront BID
is having an Urban Design Framework Plan prepared, to "examine the quality of the public realm in the BID and develop strategies for a comprehensive framework and public investment plan in the right-of-way." They've also commissioned a Retail Analysis Study "that will provide forecasts on future retail demand and absorption possibilities." Because if there's one thing a neighborhood can never have enough of, it's studies and analyses. (BID newsletter
* Another rumination on Near Southeast's development timeline
, at GGWash. As I've said many times--of course things were happening in Near Southeast before the ballpark (I wouldn't have started this blog in 2003 otherwise). But to not recognize that the ballpark sped up *plans* considerably is to not have watched the 18-month landrush in 2004 and 2005 after the ballpark's location was announced, when so many little lots between 1st and South Capitol south of the freeway were snapped up by the big guns. And to say that the ballpark didn't drive development right after it opened is to neglect the worldwide financial market near-collapse, and the years needed to recover from that. But I bet there's a lot of retailers and developers looking at the Nats this year and rueing that they didn't make their move already.
Another Virginia Avenue Tunnel Meeting Scheduled for Sept. 27
Aug 20, 2012 11:24 AM
The August edition of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel newsletter
is out, with the news that another public meeting on the project is scheduled for Sept. 27, from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. The meeting is described as providing an update on the project and to "share information about the alternatives being evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)." In other words, this isn't the meeting to unveil the draft EIS, which is expected to come this fall.
There isn't much else of note in the newsletter (noise studies ongoing, Section 106 historic preservation review ongoing, how to comment, etc.), so I'll admit this post is mainly a sneaky way to once again point out my new Virginia Avenue Tunnel page
, where you can get an overview of this project and see the concepts currently being evaluated, along with plenty of photos from along the tunnel's path.
L Street Now Open Through Canal Park; K Street Blocked
Aug 20, 2012 9:08 AM
I mentioned a few weeks ago
that it would be happening soon, and indeed, L Street through Canal Park
at 2nd Street SE is now open, with the sidewalk on the south side of the street available for pedestrians.
With this access available, K Street has now been temporarily closed to complete its streetscape. Since the park is still on schedule to open in November, it's likely that K Street will reopen by then.
Relaxing of Security Requirements Could Mean Less Land Needed for New Marine Barracks
Aug 19, 2012 6:52 AM
In a newsletter released last week
, the Marine Corps announced that a recent relaxation
of the Department of Defense's force protection requirements means that the never-ending quest
for space for a new Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) can now be based on the need for a 66-foot standoff distance
between any new building and nearby parking/roads instead of the 82-foot standoff that the Marines had been trying to work with up to now.
This means less land would be needed for both the new BEQ and additional support facilities, though the total amount is dependent on what exactly the Marines end up building. A joint eight-story BEQ and support facilities would need approximately 1.6 acres of land, while separating the two needs could mean something closer to two acres if a five-story BEQ is built.
While this is important news from a neighborhood/urban design standpoint, it also impacts the amount of land the Marines may need to, ahem, "acquire" in order to build the BEQ. Early in the search process, it had been hoped
that a public-private development partnership could be arranged so that the Marines would not have to take land by eminent domain, but it was announced in April
that "federal land acquisition will be unavoidable as a result of recent unforeseen changes in policy and a less favorable funding outlook." And, because of the requirement that the new BEQ and support facilities be within 2,000 feet of the main post at 8th and I, various blocks south of the freeway on and near Lower Barracks Row have long been the sites the Marines have been eyeing as possibilities.
At that time, the Marines said that the EIS would evaluate the two blocks along the east side of 8th between Virginia and Potomac Avenues (Squares 929/930) along with the old Exxon site at 11th and M (Square 976). It was also said that the existing "Annex site
" at 7th and Virginia was ruled out for the 100,000 square feet of housing but that it could be used for the needed 60,000 square feet of support space, but one does wonder whether the setback requirement change can return the Annex site back into the mix.
As also announced back in April
, the Marines will be preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to both evaluate potential locations for the new BEQ complex as well as the reuse of the current Building 20 barracks on I Street SE. It had been hoped that the formal Notice of Intent for the EIS would have been happening about now, but the new newsletter says this will be delayed until winter. There will then be the attendant public meetings and whatnot.