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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: October 2005
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The Associated Press is reporting that council member Vincent Orange has filed suit in DC Superior Court against council chair Linda Cropp, alleging that she overstepped her authority when she called off a roundtable meeting Orange had scheduled for today on the new baseball stadium ownership issue.  Wheeee!! UPDATE: Here's more, from the Washington Business Journal.
More posts: Nationals Park

The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association has received $300,000 from DDOT to turn a building between the spans of the 11th Street Bridge into a community center, reports the November Hill Rag.The center will "will serve as an information center and rest stop along the Anacostia Riverwalk trail, provide meeting areas for use by DDOT and other community groups, and provide much-needed facilities to hundreds of rowing and paddlesport enthusiasts who now use the river regularly." If you haven't seen the flurry of boating activity that launches onto the Anacostia from this spot, get yourself to the foot of 11th Street and take a peek.


It's Photo Updates day, and I've added a pile of them--look for the   icon to see my latest photos on these pages: DOT HQ, Capper Seniors, Capitol Hill Tower, Canal Park, 20 M Street, East End, M Street, Marine B.E.Q., and New Jersey Avenue, and even one if you dig enough on South Capitol Street. Whew!

If you haven't seen it yet, Chicken Tortilla has opened at 8th and L (see photo on my East End page), serving charbroiled rotisserie chicken. It's open M-F 10-7, and 11-4 on Saturdays.
More posts: 8th Street

New page alert! I've added a page on the New Capper Community Center that will be built at 5th and K Streets, with some great renderings of the design of the new building (thanks go to architects Torti Gallas CHK for passing them along). The 28,500 sq ft facility will include daycare for 66 children, a rec center, a computer lab, a gym, a game room, and meeting/classrooms. This building is included in the vote on Capper/Carrollsburg planned by ANC 6D on Nov. 14 as well as the zoning hearing on Dec. 19.


Today I attended a Citizen's Forum discussing the new baseball stadium and waterfront development put on by the Washington Times--panelists were Linda Cropp, Sharon Ambrose, Stephen Green (Director of Development in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development), Bob Peck of the DC Board of Trade, Barbara Lang of the DC Chamber of Commerce, and Franklin Haney, who is one of the bidders on both the Nationals and the "master developer" slot for the Ballpark District. No real news coming out of it--Linda Cropp reiterated that she will be bringing technical amendments on Nov. 1 to the stadium financing plan to fix some issues, which will prevent the financing from be reopened. There wasn't much time for questions from the citizens portion of the forum, but those who did speak (who were mostly ANC commissioners) pressed the panel on issues regarding minority businesses getting part of the stadium/development pie, affordable housing, relocation of residents and businesses in the stadium footprint, and more. The WashTimes says it will publish a transcript of the forum within the next week or so. UPDATE: Here is the WashTimes's article (not the transcript): "Cropp Vows Ballpark on Anacostia".
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park

Franklin Haney, who is bidding to become the owner of the Nationals, has told city officials (according to the Post in "Bidder Would Pay Overruns") that he would pay potential cost overruns up to $200 million on the new baseball stadium--and in return, "We would hope to be awarded the development rights to be awarded in the Ballpark District." (Haney submitted one of the nine proposals in response to the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation's Request for Expressions of Interest.) Haney, who has developed properties such as the Portals in Southwest, has not been considered one of the frontrunners in the jockeying to buy the Nats. The hope is that an owner will be chosen so that MLB can vote to approve at its by Nov. 15 meeting.

More posts: Nationals Park

To get us off the all-baseball-all-the-time track, here's a nice piece from Mid-Atlantic Construction magazine about the construction of the new DOT HQ. Occupancy is planned for January, 2007, and at that time the Southwest Plaza should also open, which includes the renovation of a nearby historic brick building that once housed a large electrical transformer into an 11,000-sq.-ft. restaurant and retail center (scroll down my DOT page to see pictures, since you can no longer see this building from M Street).


It isn't just the White Sox being in the World Series that's holding up the lease negotiations between the city and MLB over the new baseball stadium--it's worries over hurricanes and terrorism (according to the WashTimes), and whether the city should be guaranteed a rent payment under those circumstances.
More posts: Nationals Park

The DC government has filed court papers to seize the properties of 16 landowners in the footprint of the new baseball stadium, according to Wednesday's Post. The owners have 20 days to challenge the constitutionality of the takeover; if the courts do not block the city's takeover, the properties must be vacated within three months, and juries may ultimately have to decide what the owners get paid if no agreements can be reached. Seven other owners have agreed to sell their land.
More posts: Nationals Park

I've added a graphic to my Capper/Carrollsburg page that shows the general outline of the plans for the area. (I realized that while I know what's going where, and have mentioned it from time to time on my site, perhaps not everyone can read my mind and so might prefer an easy-to-read image that lays out the concepts of this 33-acre revitalization, rather than having to sift through piles of zoning documents or waiting for EYA to add a real "Site Plan" link to their Capitol Quarter page.) I also added a similar graphic and some detail to the Ballpark District page, while we wait to find out what the AWC has up its sleeve.

It's become a busy time, with all sorts of Near Southeast-related events coming up, so I've created a Calendar of Events on the Near Southeast home page (at right, under the map) to better keep track of what's on the docket.
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Nine bids to become the "master developer" that will oversee the mixed-use development of the roughly 13 acres of land surrounding the new baseball stadium have been received by the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation in response to its Request for Expressions of Interest for Ballpark District Development, from the following companies: Monument Realty and Federal Realty Investment Trust, AkridgeLNR Property Corp., Trammell Crow Residential, Triden Development Group LLC, Forest City Enterprises Inc. and Western Development Corp., the Franklin L. Haney Co., and the DSG Capital Group. The Post's "Firms Bid on Land by Stadium" and the WashTimes's "Group Pitches 'Ballpark District'" both contain details on some of the bids. The AWC is hoping to select the lead developer by early December.

Only one of the 23 land owners in the footprint of the new baseball stadium has agreed to accept the city's offer for their property, according to "Stadium Property Owners Balking" in Saturday's Post. From the article: "To gain control of the land for the $535 million stadium project, the D.C. attorney general's office will go to D.C. Superior Court as early as Monday to begin eminent domain proceedings to seize the properties that have not been sold. By going to court, D.C. officials plan to control the entire 21-acre stadium site within 90 days, they said. That will put them on schedule to clear the land, remediate minor environmental contamination and complete the Washington Nationals' ballpark by Major League Baseball's March 2008 deadline." Some of the landowners are complaining that the city is doing nothing to help them relocate, although other owners have said they feel the city is dealing with them in good faith. Again from the article: "[U]nder the "quick take" provision in the eminent domain law, the District will assume title to the properties once it deposits the money into a court-controlled account. Unless a judge stops the action on constitutional grounds, owners will have 90 days to vacate, and a jury eventually will determine the sale price unless an agreement is reached. As long as the city can show that the stadium will serve a significant public purpose, the court will allow the takeover, land use lawyers said." To see the 2005 assessed values for the properties, along with what the city has offered, see my Stadium Offers chart.
More posts: Nationals Park

I've made some major changes to my Florida Rock page, with much more detailed information about this planned 5.8-acre mixed-use project along the Anacostia River. Also included are some fabulous renderings of what the development will look like. Many thanks go to Davis Buckley Architects for providing me with the information and images. ANC 6D will be voting on the project at its November 14 meeting, and the second-stage PUD will be before the DC Zoning Commission on Dec. 8.

As part of the Great Streets Initiatve, the District Department of Transportation will be holding public workshops to help plan and design over $100 million in transportation for seven corridors, including South Capitol Street. The workshop that will include South Capitol Street (along with MLK Jr. Avenue and Minnesota Avenue) will be held Wednesday, October 26 at 6 pm at Thurgood Marshall Academy.
More posts: South Capitol St.

This is not the sort of thing I normally would post about here, but I've been giggling about it all morning, so.... I dreamt last night that I was driving around Near Southeast, and suddenly at N Street I saw a big brick building that I knew hadn't been there just a few days earlier. I went to investigate, and it was a "model" of the new baseball stadium, about three stories high and two blocks long, that the city had built so that residents could get a feel for what the new stadium was going to look like. It was a Camden Yards-looking design (so of course I told everyone in earshot "no, the architects have said they'd be using glass and stone as their major materials!"), and there were tons of people milling around looking at it, getting very excited about seeing the "real" stadium built. If I had to ask Dr. Freud, I think he'd tell me that I'm at the end of my rope waiting for the design to be unveiled!
More posts: Nationals Park

News from Zoning Commission land: at Monday's meeting, the text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay about the stadium was finally approved. As soon as it gets posted in the DC Municipal Regulations, I'll post it here, although in the meantime you can read the text of the amendment from the July 29 DC Register. In other DCOZ news, there will be a hearing on Dec. 19 on Capper/Carrollsburg, to consider Phase I Final Approval and modifications to the consolidated and prelimary PUD. Phase I final approval references the land between 3rd and 4th and K and M Streets, where they are proposing to build 91 3- to 4-story residential units (note that the existing private homes in these blocks will not be demolished); this application also addresses the plans to build a new community center on 5th Street between K and L Streets. At the ANC 6D meeting on Oct. 17, it was indicated that the breakdown of the 91 units would be: 51 units would be 3-4 bedroom townhouses sold at market rate or moderate (80%-120% median income), 11 would be section 8 ownership units, and 29 would be public housing rental units. These units are in addition to the ones already in the pipeline for the blocks between 4th and 5th and Virginia and M--there will be a total of 208 market-rate townhouse units in these first two phases. The community center will include a daycare facility for 66 children, a rec center, a computer lab, a gym, a game room, and meeting/classrooms. AND 6D will be voting on this at their Nov. 14 meeting.


The 11th Street Bridges Environmental Impact Statement project has released its first newsletter, which contains a lot of really useful information about what exactly the project is, and how it's going to work. There will be two more public scoping meetings on Dec. 13 and 14. The newsletter also notes that construction on new ramps could begin as early as Fall 2007.

More posts: 11th Street Bridges

DC Council Chair Linda Cropp has signaled that she will block any attempts at significant alternations to the baseball stadium financing package, reports Tuesday's Post. She will introduce as "technical" the amendments necessary to amend the financing package on Nov. 1, which limits the amount of changes that can be made. While councilmembers such as David Catania, Kwame Brown, and Vincent Orange have hinted that they would like to reopen the financing package, the article notes that two council members who voted against the package last year--Kathy Patterson and Adrian Fenty--have indicated they would probably vote to approve the amendments. Says Patterson: "The District is at some risk of not being taken seriously as a government if we renege on the deal we have. That said, we negotiated a lousy deal."

More posts: Nationals Park

The DC Zoning Commission will be taking up the stadium text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District at tonight's meeting. This should be when they vote for final approval--although with the discussions these days about building heights near the stadium, I wonder if there will be some revisions in the works.


According to the Washington Business Journal, owners of land north of the new stadium site recently met with DC council members Cropp, Evans, and Ambrose to discuss limiting the heights of their future developments in order to preserve views of the US Capitol dome, with buildings being able to get progressively taller as they near the Capitol. Russell Hines of Monument Realty is quoted as saying that they're willing to work with the city on this point. (A WBJ editorial supports this idea.)

Sunday's Post reports that Linda Cropp says she is committed to the Near Southeast location for the new baseball stadium, with aides for Mayor Williams saying that the council chair's support is crucial, given that she has power to limit changes to the original legislation if she brings forward the necessary revisions as "technical changes." UPDATE: in "If It Doesn't Come, Will They Still Build?" in Monday's Post, developers weigh in on how their plans for development around the stadium site would change if the stadium weren't put there after all. Some say it would slow down their plans, others say that the area is still ripe for new offerings. And one more article from the weekend deluge of Nats/stadium pieces, Saturday's piece on which groups appear to be the leading bids to buy the team also mentions the issues the council is having with the stadium lease agreement, and how the choice of a non-DC-based owner could impact those negotiations.
More posts: Nationals Park

Once again proving that nothing can ever be considered "done" in DC government, Vincent Orange's attempt to force Major League Baseball to pick an owner before a stadium lease agreement is in place, plus some technical errors in the baseball stadium financing agreement completed in late 2004, may be giving the DC Council an opening to revisit the terms, perhaps even taking another shot a trying to build the stadium at the RFK site instead of the site chosen in Near Southeast. Reps from the city's executive branch are trying to indicate that this is no big deal, and MLB is gently reminding the council that a deal's a deal, but who knows what will transpire. Read the Post and the WashTimes articles for more details.
More posts: Nationals Park

In case you don't have enough Near Southeast items on your calendar:
· The October meeting of ANC 6D (which includes about 85% of Near Southeast in its borders) will be held Monday, Oct. 17. The agenda includes two presentations of Near Southeast interest: one on the Capper/Carrollsburg Second Stage PUD, and one on the Florida Rock PUD. [entry repeated from a few days ago as a reminder]
· The Capitol Hill Restoration Society will be hosting a forum about the Anacostia Waterfront Initiatve on October 25. In addition to outlining the framework of the redevelopment plans (from the South Capitol Street corridor to the new stadium (!) through the Navy Yard up through Reservation 13 and RFK), the presentation will highlight how the initiative will relate to Capitol Hill in terms of business opportunities, urban density, and historic preservation. 
· The small mixed-use project at 801 Virginia Avenue winds its way through the bureaucracy with a hearing in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board on October 27. The developer wishes to demolish the auto repair shop and replace it with a four-story building with 17 residences and ground-floor retail.

Today's DC Register has published an ever-so-slightly corrected version of the Capper/Carrollsburg first-stage PUD approval from 2004. Since the second-stage PUD should be coming before the zoning board in the near future (and is being discussed at the ANC 6D meeting on Monday 10/17), perhaps printing this is one of those arcane zoning rules I'm unaware of. Anyway, anyone interested in the plans for the Capper/Carrollsburg site should take the time to plow through these 40 pages.

Friday's print edition of the Washington Business Journal reports that developer Ron Cohen has purchased the entire block bounded by Half, K, L, and 1st Streets, SE (square 699N), for $55 million, with plans for a mixed-use project that may include 650 condos, a hotel with condos, a stand-alone 250,000 sq ft office building, and possibly retail as well. Tenants on the block--including the nightclubs Wet, Edge, and Club 55--have been told that the buildings will be razed in late spring 2006. Phase I of the project will have 250 condos, and hopes are to begin construction in October 2006, and to have the entire project completed in four years. A few pictures of the block in its current state are on my South Capitol Street Corridor page (you'll have to scroll down a bit for them--this project will eventually get its own page, but not just yet!).


I haven't covered a lot of the news over the sale of the Nats, since it doesn't really have much to do with the stadium itself--except when Vincent Orange gets involved, now that he has said that he will introduce legislation at the Nov. 1 council meeting that would bar city officials from signing a lease agreement with Major League Baseball for a new stadium until baseball selects an owner for the Washington Nationals. (He wants to ensure that a owner with strong local ties is picked.)

More posts: Nationals Park

The Oct. 13 Voice of the Hill (PDF here) has pieces on two Near Southeast items: the cleanup of the Virginia Avenue Park at 9th and Virginia in the East End (on page 4), and an item (page 14) on the vacant Washington Star/Washington Post building at 3rd and Virginia, and the Washington Canal Park project just to the plant's south. (Scroll to the bottom of my Canal Park page, and you can see rough drawings of how the building could look after a conversion to office or mixed-use.) The article mentions a target date of 2007 or 2008 for Canal Park, which is a pretty fair delay from the original 2006 completion timeline. You can also look at my Capper/Carrollsburg page for more information about the housing that will be going up around the park.


The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation has posted Responses to Questions to the Baseball-Related Development Request for Expressions of Interest to go with the RFEI. Responses are due to the AWC on Oct. 21, with plans to begin negotiations with developers by the end of November.

Here we go again. The Post reports: "The D.C. Council reopened debate yesterday over the financing and location of a baseball stadium for the Washington Nationals, prompting fears from some city officials that the timetable could be set back on the high-stakes project" ("Council Seeks to Revisit Stadium Deal"). Perhaps it's a touch of mayoral-race-jockeying between Vincent Orange and Linda Cropp that has the two of them getting all itchy: Orange "proposed a resolution asking Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) to allow the council to review an agreement with Deutsche Bank, which would provide some private financing for the stadium."  Then Cropp "responded by warning Orange that she could raise the ante by resurrecting an idea she broached last fall: building the ballpark at the site of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. Locating it there, Cropp has said, could save the city as much as $200 million." The resolution, which passed 9-4, was nonbinding, meaning that the mayor can decide whether to send the financing deal to the council. CEO Natwar Gandhi "said the Deutsche Bank deal must be finalized by next month for the city to meet its goal of getting the stadium financing in place by the end of the year." And, just to add to the fun, "some council members also are seeking to review a lease agreement for the new stadium being negotiated between the sports commission and Major League Baseball. The lease negotiations have held up the sale of the Nationals."

More posts: Nationals Park

The construction companies Clark Construction, Hunt Construction, and Smoot Construction, which have banded together under the moniker Clark/Hunt/Smoot, A Joint Venture to win the contract to build the new DC baseball stadium, have launched the web site No, there's no details there on the design of the stadium! Just general information on the companies, their experience in building stadiums, and their ties to the community.
More posts: Nationals Park

News Flash: CEO Andy Altman resigns from the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, to take a private-sector job in New York. Details at the Washington Business Journal (reg. req.). UPDATE: The Post weighs in with "SE Development in Limbo as Official Plans to Resign" (a headline that sounds a bit more dire than the story itself): "Local developers said yesterday that the unexpected resignation of the District official who oversees development along the Anacostia River could slow down the multibillion-dollar initiative and hinder the planning of what should be built around the new baseball stadium in Southeast. [...]  The Anacostia group has a strong board of directors, including Eric W. Price, the city's former deputy mayor for economic development, and Mitchell N. Schear, a Crystal City-based developer, local developers said. And Stephen Goldsmith, chairman of the corporation's board of directors, said the organization will move quickly to replace Altman. 'We're going to keep our commitments. We're actually going to accelerate our commitments,' Goldsmith said. 'We've got a whole slew of really important things going on. It can't wait.' While Altman said the corporation is in good condition to weather change, developers said finding the right replacement, promptly, will be critical to progress on Anacostia development." UPDATE II: And one more WaPo piece on Altman's departure, from Monday's biz section.

This week's Washington City Paper's cover story is "Rich Fan, Poor Fan," all about how rotten the new DC baseball stadium is going to be for the average fan. One small nit: since the stadium design hasn't been made public yet, I'm not altogether sure what they're working off of (it appears to be a mix of HOK's original submittal when vying for the job, plus some of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's requests, plus tidbits from the AWC's Ballpark District ideas, and a June 30 sketch, but they make no mention of seeing what the current state of the design is...). But if you're looking for lots of bitching about the new stadium, and don't want to wait for it to be unveiled let alone constructed, this is a good place to start.
More posts: Nationals Park

The Post reports in Thursday's paper that Major League Baseball won't choose a new owner for the Nationals until negotiations over the lease of the new stadium are complete, but it appears that the lease negotiations don't have much of a chance of being finished until lead MLB negotiator Jerry Reinsdorf's Chicago White Sox are eliminated from the playoffs.

More posts: Nationals Park

DC is ready to begin using eminent domain by the end of this month to acquire parcels of land at the site of the new baseball stadium, according to today's Washington Times. City officials said they expect to file court documents to take over at least some of the 21-acre site in the coming weeks, and also say that the 24-month timetable for having the stadium construction begin in March 2006 and finish by March 2008 remains realistic. Also in the article, details of a squabble between the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission over where parking for the stadium should be located (AWC wants it underground, DCSEC doesn't).


Dear DC Government: I totally dig your web site, which makes so much information available to Interested Members of the Public. But maybe someday I could hope for an RSS feed of all of your news releases? Or at the very least a mailing list I could subscribe to? Because, not to put too fine a point on it, I'M GOING INSANE having to visit page after page after page after page after page after page after page each day checking for news!  I've actually built a workaround to preserve my sanity, but I bet I'm not the only one who'd want this.  Love, JD.
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A reminder that public scoping meetings for the 11th Street Bridges Environmental Impact Study are being held tonight (Oct. 5) and tomorrow night (Oct. 6) (see schedules and locations). The meeting presentation materials, as well as the Draft Purpose and Need Statement, have been posted on the study's web site.
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In the Department of RFPs, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission has posted a Request for Proposals for Program Management Services for the new ballpark (due Oct. 25). I didn't slog through all 77 pages, but I did note in the Project Schedule on page 4 that "schematic designs" are due Oct. 28. Does that mean that at the end of this month we'll finally see what the new stadium is supposed to look like (tick, tick, tick....)? And in the Department of RFP's Better-Late-Than-Never subdivision, I'll note that proposals are due today for the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation's RFP for a Transportation and Parking Study. Lastly, I'll mention that it appears that the stadium's utility relocation project is already underway, judging by the amount of digging going on at Potomac Avenue at Half Street....
More posts: Nationals Park

It's been a busy busy weekend here at the Near Southeast page. To reflect the true boundaries of the area I'm tracking, the map at right has been expanded, to 11th Street to the east and to South Capitol and S Streets in the south. I've also added two new pages to the site: the New South Capitol Street Bridge page, and the Near Southeast East End page, both of which have lots and lots of photos, and links to information about what's happening in those spots. I've also finally made my Navy Yard page more than an afterthought, adding many more pictures (although not so many from inside the Navy Yard walls, I don't want a visit from the Homeland Security folks). I know this makes the map smaller and a bit harder to read, but I also needed to leave some space for when more projects get underway. And, in the midst of all that, I added new photos to many of the existing pages: check out the DOT HQ, Washington Canal Park, Capitol Hill TowerFlorida Rock, and WASA pages to see them. (You'll also find a few new pictures on some other pages, but it'd be embarassing to mention them here when there's only one new photo on a page.)


Some Capper/Carrollsburg items: I hear tell that the construction contract for Capper Seniors #2 will be awarded soon (once the money aspect of the project gets settled, also "soon"). Also, word is that the Capper Community Center is to be demolished, Any Minute Now (we have a lot of those type of items, don't we?). In zoning news, the October Voice of the Hill gives details on the Sept. 15 zoning commission Capper / Carrollsburg agenda items--in addition to a second-stage approval being sought for a three-acre section of the project (presumably the "ribbon" between 5th, 4th, I, and M, which was demolished nearly a year ago), the developers are submitting a new application with modifications to several aspects of the original plans: they are seeking to increase the residential density to 2.34 from 2.21, and at the same time are proposing to reduce the parking spaces per unit to 1.38 from 2.1--these changes are the result of efforts to preserve some of the existing private houses that had been slated for redevelopment, according to a DC Office of Planning staffer. No date is yet announced for the public hearing on this.

Folks who have enjoyed the free ride when parking along Virginia Avenue in Near Southeast might want to prepare themselves--within the past few days, electronic ticket-type parking kiosks have appeared at 2nd and Virginia and 3rd and Virginia. No signs yet instructing parkers to use them, but I'm guessing these little green boxes haven't been put there for their asthetically pleasing look....
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