are still to be built on the empty lots between 2nd and 3rd, and on the trash transfer site, and at the old Capper Seniors site at 7th and L, plus office buildings at
--but until those get underway (timelines all currently unannounced), my days of traipsing around the old Capper footprint with camera in hand are at an end.
I've taken more than 5,000 photos of just this portion of Near Southeast, and while not all of them are on the web site, if you go to the Photo Archive map
and click on a star or use the search form, you can follow the progression I've witnessed at the 14 Capitol Quarter intersections (such as the one above, showing the southwest corner of 4th and L
from 2006 to 2012, and the one below, showing the northeast corner of 4th and K
from 2004 to 2009).
The photos, of course, mostly just track the physical change, and don't really reflect how these blocks now have so much more foot traffic, so many more strollers, and so many more bikes (and so many more shades of pastels on the buildings!). The photos probably do hint at the, ahem, shift in demographics from a nearly 100 percent public housing community to a mixed-income area that includes some of those previous public housing residents alongside newcomers who've paid close to $1 million for their new homes, which probably still elicits a grumble here or there, though that's also an on-going discussion across the city, not specific just to Near Southeast.
But for those of us who saw what this area south of the freeway had looked like for so many years, there can still be moments of wonder that this redevelopment actually happened. It's been amazing to watch, and I'm so glad I got to see it up close from start to finish.
A Terribly Important Before-and-After to Capture for Posterity
Nov 11, 2012 3:05 PM
Never let it be said that I have completely abandoned my mission.
South Capitol and I Streets, SE. At left, August 14, 2005; at right, November 11, 2012.
Thank you, drive through.
Park Chelsea Financing Secured, Now Officially Underway
Nov 9, 2012 3:35 PM
While there's been a lot of work going on at the site since the beginning of the year, it's only now that it can truly be said that work has begun on the 432-unit Park Chelsea apartment building
at New Jersey and I Streets, SE.
Developer William C. Smith has closed on a $100 million construction loan (which they are calling the largest one secured for a DC residential project this year), and if you look down on the site from on high, you can definitely see earth being moved, separate from the huge shafts built over these past few months to facilitate the relocation of deep infrastructure beneath the site. (There was also that whole demolishing of the trash transfer station
just to the south of the project's footprint, since a small corner of that old building extended onto the Park Chelsea land.)
The cost of the entire project is pegged at $150 million.
The Park Chelsea is expected to deliver late in 2014, and will have three levels of below-grade parking, both indoor and outdoor pools, a rooftop garden with a dog park, an electric car charging station, and a "state of the art bike storage and maintenance area." It's also just the first phase of the development of the entire block bounded by New Jersey, 2nd, H, and I, which is expected to have 1,200 residential units and 75,000 square feet of retail when it is all completed; plus, H and I streets will be built through between 2nd and New Jersey. It's also just a few steps away from the so-close-to-opening-you-can't-believe-it Canal Park
The Park Chelsea is now the second new-construction multi-unit residential building to start in Near Southeast in 2012, along with Forest City's Twelve12
apartment building (home also to Harris Teeter and Vida Fitness
) at the Yards.
BID Says Kruba Thai Now Open, Except for Sushi and Alcohol
Nov 9, 2012 2:41 PM
A tweet just out
from the Capitol Riverfront BID says that Kruba Thai is now open, although with the caveats that the full Thai menu is available, but alcohol and sushi aren't yet, so definitely consider this a "soft opening."
If you swing by and check out this temporarily liquor-free version, post your thoughts in the comments.
Even without the alcohol, Kruba is now the first sit-down/table-service restaurant to open in Near Southeast since Justin's Cafe arrived in spring 2010.
For those who haven't followed closely, Kruba is in the southwest corner of the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts building
, just north of the Yards Park
on 3rd Street, SE.
I wandered down, and they are indeed open
. A couple of photos:
ANC Vote: Ed Kaminski Wins 6D02; Garber Re-Elected
Nov 7, 2012 12:06 AM
Elections are a very (very!) busy time for me in my "real" life, so I can tear away for just a moment to pass along the news that Ed Kaminski
has won the race for the newly drawn ANC 6D02, with 485 votes to Damon Patton's 376. (So that's 54-42 if you don't feel like doing the math.) There were also 40 write-in votes, most of which presumably were for current 6D02 commissioner Cara Shockley.
, running unopposed in 6D07, garnered (Garbered?) 642 votes, with 37 write-ins.
As for the rest of ANC 6D, commissioners Andy Litsky, Ron McBee, Roger Moffatt, and Rhonda Hamilton are all returning, and Donna Hopkins is now the new commissioner for ANC 6D01. (Grace Daughtridge, running against Moffatt, had kind of a rough Election Day
If you want to see vote totals, here's the DCBOEE site
Now, back into my election cave for a little while longer....
WBJ: Gordon Biersch Confirmed for 100 M
Oct 31, 2012 6:01 PM
The Washington Business Journal confirms today
what I've been chasing and rumoring
for just over a year now, that brewery/restaurant Gordon Biersch is indeed coming to 100 M
, the office building on the northeast corner of 1st and M, SE
, one block north of Nationals Park.
No timetable was announced, but you'd think Opening Day 2013 would certainly be a goal. (Then again, we once thought
that Opening Day 2012 would be a goal.)
The building permit application I saw a few weeks ago
that I assumed was Biersch indicated the restaurant will have up to 236 seats indoors, and 94 outdoors.
Toll Brothers Buys Second Square 699N Lot From Cohen
Oct 31, 2012 12:10 PM
DC property records show that on Oct. 1, "Toll DC LP" paid $14.5 million to the Cohen Companies for the final empty lot on the Square 699N
/Velocity block, running along the east side of Half Street SE between K and L, across from 1015 Half Street
With Toll's $24 million purchase back in May
of the 1st and K portion of the same square with plans to build a 250ish-unit residential building, this now gives the company a second toe-hold inside the District, both on the same block.
There are rumors that the 1st and K site could see construction start in the spring, but there have been no announcements. (And I can't really even say "wait to watch for digging," since on that 1st and K site the garage and underground infrastructure was already dug and completed when the Cohen companies built Velocity
ANC Elections: Meet the Candidates, via Questionnaires
Oct 30, 2012 11:54 AM
With all of the Sandy stuff of the past few days, it seems like the One Week to Election Day mark has arrived today without the normal fanfare. But here we are with seven days to go, and as much as I tried to be lazy and avoid it (semi-retired! semi-retired!), I'm posting today the questionnaires I sent out last week to four candidates for the two ANC districts that now cover Near Southeast.
Click through to read the responses I received from three candidates for the new ANC 6D02: Ed Kaminski
, Damon Patton
, and current 6D02 commissioner Cara Shockley
, running as a write-in. David Garber
, 6D07's current commissioner, is running unopposed, but wanted a questionnaire too, so I obliged.
There are some questions specific to the two districts as well as general questions that all four candidates answered, along with one curveball (literally) at the end.
What do you think of the candidates' responses? Fire away in the comments.
Canal Park Grand Opening Set for November 16
Oct 25, 2012 5:58 PM
A flyer just sent out
by the Capitol Riverfront BID is announcing that Canal Park
will have a two-day Grand Opening, on Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17, kicking off with a ribbon cutting with the mayor and other dignitaries at 11 am on the 16th.
The park's much anticipated ice rink will be the center of attention for the rest of the festivities, and it will be open from noon to 9 pm on Friday and 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday--admission is $8 for adults and $7 for kids/seniors/military, with skate rentals costing $3. There will also be "ice performances" at the top of each hour from noon to 4 pm, and coaches available to help new skaters.
Saturday will also have live music in the park from 10 am to 3 pm, various art-y options, and a "Get Active" program from Results Gym with boot camp, a kids obstacle course, and a Zumba class.
Considering that it was nine years ago this month that I first wrote about the plans to remove the school buses from the park's three-block site along 2nd Street between I and M, SE, I'd say this opening indeed qualifies as a milestone in the neighborhood. See my Canal Park project page
for photos of what the footprint has gone through over the years.
(The BID also says that the management of Kruba Thai and Sushi
says that their restaurant in the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts
at the Yards
is opening on Monday, Nov. 12. Will that come true as well? We shall see!)
I should add there's no word in this whether the Park Tavern restaurant will open on this same weekend--my guess is that the pressure is pretty strong to have it open in some format, but there's no announcement.
Vida Fitness Finally Confirmed for Twelve12 at the Yards
Oct 23, 2012 11:18 AM
It took a loooong time to get past the unconfirmed stage (and even included an oopsie cat-out-of-the-bag last year
by some PR folks), but today Forest City Washington is finally officially announcing that Vida Fitness
is coming to the south end of the Twelve12 apartment building
, now under construction on 4th Street SE between M and Tingey in the Yards
Also in the 28,000-square-foot facility will be Vida's "affiliated concepts" Bang Salon
and Aura Spa
, and will also feature Vida's Penthouse Pool Club and Lounge, shown in the above-right drawing and described as a "membership-only urban resort featuring a rooftop pool deck with city and riverfront views and a variety of poolside lounging options and amenities."
, when completed in mid-2014, will also be home to the neighborhood's first grocery store, a 50,000-square-foot Harris Teeter located on the north end of the block at 4th and M, in addition to the building's 218 apartments. There is also still 10,000 square feet of as-yet-unleased retail space. It is across the street from the Boilermaker Shops retail pavilion
, set to open in early 2013, and kitty corner from both the Foundry Lofts
and what will be a new 325ish-unit apartment building
on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey, expected to start construction in 2013.
Grosvenor and Skanska (Finally) Close Square 701 Deal
Oct 12, 2012 1:11 PM
I can now finally stop obsessively checking Square 701 property records, as Grosvenor Americas and Skanska finally completed earlier this week their purchases of the former Willco properties along 1st Street SE
between M and N, and each officially announced
their plans for the site, which of course JDLand readers have known about
for a while now
The now-announced plans track pretty closely with what we've been hearing through the zoning process
* a 224,000-square-foot Class A office building at the corner of 1st and M;
* a 180-unit hotel just to the south of the office building, separated by a 30-foot-courtyard;
* a 292-unit residential project south of the hotel in two buildings, both parallel to 1st Street, with a courtyard between them and a glass bridge connecting them; and
* 43,000 square feet of retail, 36,000 sf of which will be in the office/hotel/residential buildings, while the remaining 7,000 sf will be in a separate two-story retail-only building at the corner of 1st and N.
But we've also now learned that the office building (seen at left) will be developed by Skanska, is designed by Gensler, and will likely be self-financed, according to Bisnow. It will have 11,000 square feet of retail, and will be 11 stories tall. Looking at property records (always a somewhat dicey proposition), it appears that Skanska's Ballpark Square 701 LLC paid about $19.2 million for the multiple small lots at 1st and M where Normandie Liquors
used to stand.
Grosvenor will be developing the rest of the project, with Hickok Cole designing the residential buildings and the hotel, and with McCaffery Interests providing "advisory services" and construction management. Grosvenor's Ballpark Square LLC appears in property records to have paid $25.8 million for its portion of the site.
Jon Carr of Grosvenor tells me that there is "strong interest" from potential tenants in the two-story 7,000-square-foot retail building at 1st and N (bet they wish they could have it built by tonight
!) and that there are discussions with a couple of potential operators for the hotel.
Of course, the question most interested observers want to ask doesn't have an answer yet--neither announcement gives a start date. There's still the need for final approvals from the Zoning Commission (expected to come at the Oct. 29 public meeting), but for the Grosvenor portion of the site, there's one more pending item before the path to construction is truly clear, and that is the plans by another developer for the L-shaped lot
between the residential buildings and the retail building.
Grosvenor apparently did attempt to purchase that property, but with no agreement able to be reached, those owners are now heading to the Zoning Commission in early December
with their desire to build a 176-room hotel on the site (initial design seen at right, wrapping around Grosvenor's two-story retail building). If approved, Grosvenor's plans to have the courtyard of its residential buildings opened to the south
would be impacted, and there is apparently an "alternative" design in the hopper if needed.
You can check my Square 701 page
for more details about this site (including lots of Before photos from its days before becoming Nats Parking Lot F). The next steps to watch for, beyond how the L Hotel [copyright JD] turns out (which we may not know until early 2013), will be the filing of building permit applications, along with any announcements of office tenants, hotel operators, etc.