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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: October 2008
In the Pipeline
Homewood Suites Hotel
82 I
Yards/Parcel A
Florida Rock
1244 South Capitol
Ballpark Square
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
New Barracks
Akridge/Half St.
Monument/Half St.
Capper Apts.
250 M St.
Nat'l Community Church
909 Half St.
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
Completed
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Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
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Capitol Quarter ('12)
225 Virginia/200 I ('12)
Foundry Lofts ('12)
1015 Half Street ('10)
Yards Park ('10)
Velocity Condos ('09)
Teague Park ('09)
909 New Jersey Ave. ('09)
55 M ('09)
100 M ('08)
Onyx ('08)
70/100 I ('08)
Nationals Park ('08)
Seniors Bldg Demo ('07)
400 M ('07)
Douglass Bridge Fix ('07)
US DOT HQ ('07)
20 M ('07)
Capper Seniors 1 ('06)
Capitol Hill Tower ('06)
Courtyard/Marriott ('06)
Marine Barracks ('04)
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As I mentioned a few days ago, I was able to snag some time behind the fences at The Yards this week (with permission!!) and took a bunch of pictures. I also took this opportunity to do a bit of cleanup on the many Yards pages on this site, so if you haven't wandered through all of them in a while, I suggest taking the time to do so, keeping an eye out for the ubiquitous icon. Some highlights (click through to the pages for more details on each project):
* I posted a fair number of photos (plus some new renderings) of the Foundry Lofts at Third and Tingey, where the new top two floors are starting to be framed. You can also see how the a portion of the new Water Street just south of the Foundry has been paved, and curbs have been installed; ditto with the new portion of Third Street that will run alongside the building down to the park.
* There aren't really many exciting new photos of the Yards Park yet, but I added in new renderings and also spruced up the page some. The park and the Foundry Lofts apartments (along with the Boilermaker Shop retail pavilion) are expected to deliver in mid-2010.
* I made my first close-up visit to the Factory 202 building at Fifth and M (the old Gun Assembly Building), and got a few new images like the one at right. (Look for the "Pistol Range" photo for added entertainment.) This building is expected to be condos, delivering in 2011.
* I added a lot of new images to the Later Phases page, where you can see a good close-up of the little Building 74 next to Factory 202, which will eventually be townhouses. You'll also see more of the infrastructure work going on, including curb cuts already in place at Fourth and Tingey (even though the southern part of Fourth doesn't exist there yet). There's also a new red brick wall going in along the boundary with the Navy Yard, where a new block of Fifth Street will be built.
* You should also check out my Yards Overview page for the hard-to-read map, to help orient yourself to all the locations.
* Or, if you just want a pile of pictures without the "guided tour," here's all the new photos on one page (which includes images not posted on any of the above pages.) Click the icon to see other photos from the past few years from the same location.
Hopefully that's enough to keep everyone entertained for a while.
 

A few items in the new issue of the Hill Rag might be of interest to Near Southeast denizens and aficionados:
* Columnist Peter Waldron looks at the few ANC commissioner races where there's actually a challenger, which includes Near Southeast's single member district (6D07), where longtime commissioner Bob Siegel is facing Capitol Hill Tower resident Geoffrey Kreiss. Some interesting background to be had on both candidates, if you're still needing to make a decision.
* There's a summary of the October ANC6D meeting, in case you found my lousy one wanting. (It also includes info on some of the Southwest-related items brought up.)
* An article called "Anacostia Waterfront: Where is the Environment Vision Now?" looks at the fate of the environmental vision for the Anacostia that was published by the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation shortly before its demise. This portion was eye-catching: "Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells 6 cites the 'inertia of bureaucracy' that the Fenty government allows with respect to the Anacostia environment. The stadium is the mayor's pride, but 'the failure of the Anacostia Trail network to be completed by this time leaves me disgusted,' Wells says. The river walk and trail limps along, and new park access is mostly on the drawing board. The Fenty administration has not made environment a priority. Wells argues, 'I don't see a financial component in the budget.' " The Wayback Machine has a copy of the draft standards.
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According to the city's land records, on October 7 Akridge paid $4.65 million for the three properties totalling about 7,000 square feet on the south side of K Street between New Jersey and First, all owned by the Cohen family. (Currently on these properties are a defunct garage and an empty lot, as seen in the photo at right). Akridge already owns the lots along First Street south of K down to the Market Deli at L Street; and, from what I can see in my very-unlearned reading of other land records, it also now has agreements with both the Market Deli and the cab garage on the northwest corner of New Jersey and L.
The only non-Akridge lots left on this block (known as Square 740) are two tiny lots directly behind the Market Deli on L Street and the buildings in the middle of the block along New Jersey where Positive Nature used to operate. (I'll also note, for those for whom this actually means anything, that the Positive Nature lots were the recipients of 52,000 square feet in transferable development rights earlier this year.)
This block is kind of the "last frontier" in the neighborhood, the only one without any sort of large development announced anywhere on it.
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More posts: mnorth, square 740
 

This morning inside the Boilermaker Shop at Fourth and Tingey Mayor Fenty announced the completion of a $42 million public-private partnership to fund and maintain the 5.5-acre Waterfront Park at The Yards. He was joined by Forest City's Deborah Ratner Salzberg, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, and Capitol Riverfront BID executive director Michael Stevens, all of whom extolled the potential not only of the park (the neighborhood's "front yard", Stevens said) but of all of what is coming to Near Southeast. In the press release, Fenty is quoted as saying, "This is a great example of the kind of great urban spaces we can create when we think creatively and work together with partners who share our vision for transforming the banks of the Anacostia River into a world class waterfront."
Construction will begin on the park in January, and is being funded by the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) that the city created last year. Once the park is built, the BID will be in charge of maintaining and "programming" it. One caveat for those who have been looking forward to seeing the park completed--it is now scheduled for a mid-2010 opening, along with the Boilermaker Shop and the Pattern Shop Foundry Lofts (they renamed the dang building; I can't wait to change it everywhere on the site).
I took a few photos at the event (seems like it's been forever since there was one of these, especially after the avalanche of them back in 2007 and early 2008). You'll also see on that page the latest renderings of the park, the Foundry Lofts building, and some views along Water Street. The park images aren't new, but the others are, and it may be a few days before I get them integrated into the site, so I figured I'd toss them up here for now.
I also got to take a tour behind the fences across much of the 44 acres of The Yards, and of course snapped a bunch of photos. However, since there are hardly any *streets* in most of these locations just yet, it makes my cataloging and posting of pictures much more time-consuming than with other projects. So I hope to post them in the next few days. At least the sun was out, unlike last time!
There was a fair amount of media at this event, so check back for links to stories (and the press releases, once they're posted).
UPDATE: A video report from NBC4, and a few paragraphs from the Post. The AP gave it a little write-up, too. And the Yards has now posted its own press release.
 

Nothing in this WashTimes piece will be news for people who wander by here on a regular basis, but "Economy halts developers' ballpark plans" is a good survey that's probably still worth a read in case you've missed something. The crux is that the current economy has put an end to building on spec--"'Until you're getting your office building 70 percent leased up, you're not moving forward,' said Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District." And with things as they are, companies aren't moving to new office space, either. There's also this: "Monument Vice President Russell Hines said the financing difficulty is not because of pre-leasing requirements but rather demands for larger amounts of collateral on loans. Lenders once were willing to finance 75 percent of a project with only the project itself as collateral. Now, however, companies ask developers to put up additional assets to back the loan, even for just 50 percent financing."
One thing that is moving forward: Wednesday morning the mayor will be announcing a $42 million public/private deal between Forest City, the city, and the BID to build and maintain the 5.5-acre waterfront park at The Yards. The target date for the park has been mid-2009; we'll see at tomorrow's event whether that's still in the cards.
UPDATE: On his blog, Tim Lemke of the Times addresses a few issues that Forest City had with his article. And my entry on the park announcement is here.
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More posts: The Yards, Yards Park
 

Since people are talking about this in the comments on my post about the Connect Barracks Row meeting Wednesday night, it's timely to point to this Infosnack post that breaks news about the parking lot on Eighth Street under the Southeast Freeway. Apparently at last week's ANC 6B meeting DDOT informed the ANC that the Marines are going to be vacating the lot, and that DDOT is proposing "market-based pricing" of the lot, using either stick meters or multi-space meters. Read the post for more details.
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More posts: ANC News, 8th Street
 

On Monday night the Zoning Commission held a brief hearing on Case 06-32a, the request by the city to move the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue into the "Capitol South Receiving Zone," which would allow the block to receive transferable development rights, allowing greater height and density than the 6.5 FAR and 90-ft-height currently allowed.
When this was originally brought before the commission by developer Washington Telecom Associates for setdown two years ago, the Office of Planning indicated that they wouldn't support the request because of concerns about the added density on that block affecting both Canal Park to the south and Capper/Carrollsburg townhouses to the east (read the transcript for more details). Since that time, the city subleased the building (paying $500k a month in rent), but has decided not to use it to house police department functions and so is in the process of finding a developer to take over its sublease (which also has an option to buy).
In their pre-hearing report and during last night's session, OP said they are now prepared to support the move to the receiving zone, "provided that there is Zoning Commission review of the design of the portions of a building proposed to rise higher than 90' " which would confirm that the building "will be sufficiently setback from the eastern building face to avoid shadowing the lower buildings in Square 797 to the east" and that it "will provide a suitable northern focal point for the Canal Blocks Park." The OP report says that this lot would not be exempt from the city's inclusionary zoning requirements.
The three commissioners in attendance (Hood, May, and Turnbull) asked a few cursory questions, and noted that there was no report from ANC 6D nor any witnesses in support or opposition. The ZC will vote on this case at its Nov. 10 public meeting.
With the OPM page on the 225 Virginia Request for Expressions of Interest saying that notification was to have happened yesterday, I thought there was a possibility that this hearing would give us some hint as to who might be taking over the city's lease, but the Office of Planning said they didn't know who the developer might be.
 

A project called "Connect Barracks Row," organized by University of Maryland graduate students in a Community Planning class, is looking at how the portion of Eighth Street between the Southeast Freeway and M Street, SE "can be developed to best benefit and connect the surrounding communities." To that end, they are having a community meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 29, where they are hoping to get feedback and ideas on how to make this stretch more vibrant and pedestrian-friendly, and how to overcome the barrier that is the freeway. The meeting is at 7 pm at Friendship House, 619 D Street, SE--here's the invitation flyer for more information. UPDATE: And here's the press release, for a bit more background.
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Folks watching the Half Street Hole just south of 55 M Street have noted the arrival of a crane in the past few days. I've contacted Monument Realty, and they've confirmed that some construction is getting underway--but it's just to complete the three-level underground garage on the southern portion of the street, not to begin the hotel and residential projects. Perhaps all that parking directly north of the ballpark is seen as some worthwhile income while waiting for the residential market to improve....
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More posts: Monument/Half St.
 

Oct 23, 2008 12:14 PM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission briefly took up a group of items having to do with the Planned Unit Development (PUD) approved for Capper/Carrollsburg back in 2004. The first was the request that I've written about in the past to expand the allowed number of residential units in apartment buildings planned for two spots along L Street (between Second and Third behind the proposed 250 M Street office building and on the north side of the Old Capper Seniors site). See my previous entry for specifics.
There were also requests for three time extensions: to extend the first-stage PUD for an additional five years, to extend the deadline for filing second-stage approvals for the apartment building sites along Canal Park (including the trash-transfer station site) to 2013, and to extend the deadline for filing a building permit application for the planned community center at Fifth and K to January 2011, with an included extension of the start of construction to January 2012.
The commission voted 4-0-1 to have all of these items come up together on a future date to be determined (as one public hearing and one special public meeting for those of you well-versed in ZC phraseology).
 

Oct 22, 2008 3:13 PM
* A reminder that Friday night (Oct. 24) is the "Night at the Yards" fundraiser for Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region. Individual tickets are $125 in advance, $135 at the door for the event to be held in a big tent at Fourth and Tingey, with music by the English Beat and Rita Rocks. Living Classrooms is planning to eventually build its new main campus building on the eastern end of the waterfront park at the Yards, near the Navy Yard.
* Also on Friday night is the annual "Ghost Ship Barry" event, where kids can take a haunted tour of the display ship Barry at the Navy Yard. "The Ghost Ship Barry is suitable for children ages 4-9 from 5 to 7pm. After 7pm, Ghost Ship Barry will become much scarier and is only appropriate for children over the age of 9. This event is free and open to the public, but a 24-hour RSVP to 202-433-6897 is required for entry to the Washington Navy Yard. Please do not wear Halloween costumes for safety reasons."
* On Saturday night (Oct. 25) the Navy Yard is offering a candlelight tour, starting at the Navy Museum at 7 pm. This is also free and open to the public, but also requires a 24-hour RSVP for entry. Free parking is available.
 

Oct 22, 2008 11:28 AM
From PC World (and also a ton of other places via press release): "After a first successful season running 802.11n high-speed Wi-Fi throughout its glimmering new ballpark, Nationals Park officials in Washington plan to add more applications for next year, including video game clips that fans at the park can wirelessly pick up on their handhelds. [...] In addition to sending video clips of spectacular game plays to fans at Nationals Park, Zachariah said he hopes to have other types of wireless interactions between fans. Among these is making it possible for fans to send text comments or photos that could be posted on the park's 4,800-square-foot high-definition scoreboard. Plans also include using RFID (radio frequency identification) tags to track cash bags over the Wi-Fi network as they are carried from a concession stand to the safe, Zachariah added. The tags could also be distributed to parents who could attch them to their children, in case they get lost in the ballpark. Plans for next spring also include allowing a voice over Wi-Fi system for stadium staff to use during emergencies when cellular networks may be overtaxed, Zachariah added. Fans could also place food orders over Wi-Fi and have the orders delivered to their seats."
The article says it cost about $280,000 for all the equipment and installation.
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Oct 21, 2008 3:11 PM
Here's a brief wrap-up of Near Southeast-related items from last night's ANC 6D meeting (though the folks following my Twitter feed got some pithy tidbits in real time):
* JPI was there requesting support for a public space permit to put up a sign at 909 New Jersey. If you've been thinking that this apartment building looks pretty far along, you're correct: the JPI rep said that they're looking to deliver the first units in February. The building has 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, of which 4,000 is expected to be leased to restaurants. The discussion about the sign permit devolved into concerns about the main staircase on New Jersey Avenue splitting up the public space, which DDOT's public space committee has already approved but which ANC members weren't sure they'd ever seen. The vote on the sign permit request was 4-0-2 in favor of asking DDOT to postpone the decision on the sign as a protest against the sign and NJ Ave public space permits not having been done together.
* EYA and the DC Housing Authority presented their request for ANC support for some new brick "screens" on certain public housing units at Capitol Quarter that won't have alley access and so will need to have their trash and recycling cans placed by the buildings' fronts. There are nine corner buildings in Capitol Quarter with 27 public housing units that will need these screens, though there are also corner buildings at CQ that are not public housing, and there are additional public housing units that are not in these corner buildings. But the ANC felt that these trash screens would make the affected units easily identified as public housing, which would negate what commissioners described as the "concept of Hope VI" where you're not supposed to be able to "tell the difference" in market-rate and public-housing units from the outside. There were also concerns about units with windows above the trash enclosures (i.e., the smell and also having to look out at the trash bins). The rep from DCHA asked the ANC to table the request for support rather than oppose it (so that EYA and DCHA could come back with some revised designs), but the ANC voted 5-0 to oppose the request anyway.
Both these public space permits are on Thursday's agenda of the city's Public Space Committee.
There was also to be a discussion of the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, but it got moved to late in the agenda, and it sounded like it was going to be just in terms of the impact on Southwest, so I will admit that I didn't stick around.
 

Oct 21, 2008 10:00 AM
Two ballpark items (both Twittered yesterday):
* The Post's DC Wire blog reports that David Catania is pointing to the latest Sports and Entertainment Commission cost report that says the ballpark costs to the city are now up to $688 million. (The Examiner has a piece on this, too.)
* That estimate does not include the $4 million that the city agreed to pay for additional stadium improvements in Friday night's rent agreement with the team, a deal which some council members are expressing unhappiness about. " 'On its face, I've got some questions about it,' said Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D). 'The way I read it, we got the $3.5 million we would have gotten anyway, and we gave up $4 million in additional concessions.' "
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Oct 20, 2008 10:12 AM
For those who haven't wandered past themselves, I've posted a few photos of the post-demolition landscape at Capitol Quarter--this was done because of structural problems uncovered in the foundations, which EYA decided were severe enough to require the demolition of the existing work rather than just trying to patch it or shore it up. If you want to see how the construction went up and then came down, here's all the photos of the southeast corner of Fourth and L taken this year.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Oct 17, 2008 11:07 PM
From WTOP: "A tentative agreement has been reached between the District and the Washington Nationals over millions of dollars in unpaid rent for the new ballpark. D.C. Acting Attorney General Peter Nickles informed D.C. council members he has received an email from the Nationals indicating the team is ready to sign an agreement. He did not talk about the specifics. There has been ongoing dispute between the Lerner family and the Nationals over more than $3 million. The Lerners say Nationals Park was not 'substantially complete' by Opening Day of the 2008 baseball season. D.C. officials disagreed."
Here's the Post's DC Wire blog entry, which has some detail: "Acting D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said tonight that he is on the verge an agreement with the Washington Nationals in which the team would pay $3.5 million in rent for the ballpark that it has refused to pay since the spring. In exchange, the District would seek extended warranties to cover repairs on the ballpark, Nickles said. Nickles said the agreement could be finalized tonight." More to come, I imagine.
UPDATE, 10/18: WTOP says the agreement was indeed signed last night: "Acting Attorney General Peter Nickles says the Nationals will pay the District $3.5 million on Monday. In exchange the city will return letters of credit to the Lerners, who own the team, extend the park's liquor license, and resolve 3-to-4-thousand unfinished items in the stadium. The city will also try to get warranty extensions from builders on things like elevators. Both the Nationals and the District say this solves all their issues and the team will pay full rent going forward." And, for posterity's sake, here's the Post piece on the agreement.
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More posts: Nationals Park
 

Oct 16, 2008 2:10 AM
I Twittered this about a half-hour ago, but I thought I'd let the Web 1.0 folks know that demolition is underway on the south side of L Street between Fourth and Fifth, taking down the framing and foundation of the Capitol Quarter townhouses that are going to have to be redone. (Why? Read this.)

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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Oct 15, 2008 2:20 PM
* The ANC 6D agenda for its meeting on Monday Oct. 20 has been sent around (though not yet posted online). There will be a discussion of the Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan as it relates to Southwest, plus public space requests for building signage at 909 New Jersey and "Brick Walls for Trash Enclosures" at Capitol Quarter. (These are also on the Oct. 23 agenda of the city's Public Space Commitee.)
* The short list for a design/build team to reconstruct the 11th Street Bridges is out--Shirley Design-Build LLC, Skansa/Facchina, Archer Western Contractors LLC, Perini/Parsons Joint Venture, and KCA Constructors Joint Venture. According to the procurement schedule, a draft RFP should already be out (haven't found it online), and final RFP should be issued by the end of the year, with a contract signed with the vendor by June 1, 2009.
* Metro announced yesterday that 53 percent of baseball game attendees this year arrived at Nationals Park via Metrorail. That's 1.8 million bodies, averaging 23,000 people entering and exiting the Navy Yard station at the 80 home games in 2008. (It apparently doesn't count people who took the bus or walked down from Capitol South.) In the last two years at RFK, only 38 percent of attendees took the subway. Marc Fisher has some thoughts on it all (including some questions on Metro's math).
 

Oct 14, 2008 6:01 PM
Back in January the city held the first Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair, with representatives from not only developers but city agencies manning booths with all sorts of information about all the projects planned along the Anacostia River corridor. It seemed to have been well received at the time, and clearly it was judged a success because they've now scheduled a second go-round, on Saturday Nov. 15 from 1 pm to 5 pm, this time at Nationals Park. Here's the "save the date flyer"--the e-mail alert I received about the event says that, in addition to info on projects and refreshments, there will be "waterfront tours."
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Oct 14, 2008 1:17 PM
(Warning: this is another one of those goofy things I've done for myself that I'm just throwing open to the masses in case anyone's interested.) On a lark a few weeks ago, I created a poster-sized photo gallery of more than 100 of the buildings demolished in Near Southeast since I started taking pictures, which I've pompously titled "Before the Ballpark." It comes in two sizes: 16x24 or 20x30, and having just received the prints myself, I have to say that the reproduction quality is pretty darn good--certainly suitable for framing and hanging in the house, apartment, condo, workspace, restaurant, or sales office of your choice. Ordering is done through Qoop.com, and though I do get a small royalty, I don't have anything to do with the taking or fulfilling of orders. (Thank goodness.)
There might be other items to come, after I get my life back in mid-November.
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Oct 13, 2008 3:10 PM
You may have noticed that work seemed to stop a few weeks ago on the new townhouses at Capitol Quarter. Here is the official statement given to me by EYA:
"Several weeks ago we noticed several locations with cracking in the foundations at Capitol Quarter. We immediately put construction on hold, and contacted several geotechnical engineering firms to analyze the situation. While several repair solutions were suggested, we felt the wisest decision to ensure the integrity of the homes was to change foundation designs, and start over with a new enhanced design. Even though this meant removing the framing on several started homes, we feel this solution provides the future residents the confidence of owning structurally sound homes."
Homeowners in these first blocks along L are being told to expect their move-in dates to slide 30 to 60 days as a result of the need to demolish the existing foundations and frames and start construction over again.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter
 

Oct 13, 2008 9:52 AM
A few items to quickly get posted before I disappear back down the rabbit hole:
* As has already been mentioned in some places, the bill to approve a FiOS franchise agreement with Verizon has been introduced to the city council (the agreement itself was announced in early August). The city's press release says that "Verizon plans to begin designing and upgrading its network in the District to all fiber optics and could begin offering its fiber-optic-based FiOS TV service in the District within about a year"--the question is whether the neighborhood that a few months ago saw a sign proclaiming "1st Neighborhood in DC to Offer Verizon FiOS" will indeed be one of the first areas to get it. (The 70/100 I apartment buildings have said that they are pre-wired for FiOS.)
* Proposals to take over the city's lease at 225 Virginia (the old Post Plant) are due by no later than noon on Wednesday. The OPM page on the offering indicates that the winner will be notified by Oct. 27--it seems like a pretty swift decision timeline, but I'll note that Oct. 27 also happens to be the day of the Zoning Commission hearing on the proposed shift of the 225 lot to the Capitol South (or is it Capitol Gateway) Receiving Zone.
* I obliquely Tweeted this last week, but was remiss in not officially giving props to DC Metrocentric for the kind words in this Washingtonian Blogger Beat profile. (I'll leave it to you folks to react to his comments on the neighborhood itself.)
 

Oct 12, 2008 8:10 PM
One of the many folks on the ground keeping an eye on the neighborhood while I slack off these days has reported that concrete is being poured in the bottom of the hole on the south end of Monument's Half Street project. You can see it on the 55 M web cam if you zoom in; judging from the web cam archive, it looks like the first bits of action began in September, with real work getting underway a week ago. This south end of the block is where Monument has been planning a hotel and 340 residential units, which were originally slated to be finished by the end of 2009 or early 2010.
In mid-September, when a construction trailer was delivered to the south end of the site and a "Bovis" sign went up, I contacted Monument to ask if this meant that work was getting underway; I was told the while they are "hoping" to begin the hotel/residential project by the end of the year, the movement seen at Half and N was for work related to the office building and other improvements (not defined) on Half Street. We'll see if there's some sort of announcement or communique as to what's happening.
In other Monument Half Street news, their public space permit request for various fixtures (" 23-benches, 9 trash containers, 32 lights, 146 fountains, 8 bollards, 18 bike racks") at 1200 Half is now going to be heard at the Oct. 23 Public Space Committee meeting, after having been postponed from September. I can't wait to find out what the heck this "146 fountains" part of the agenda item actually means!
 

Oct 10, 2008 12:22 PM
( Reposting this as a reminder) From our friends at the Navy Yard, an invitation to all neighbors (and everyone else) to attend Navy Day in DC festivities, on Oct. 11 from 10 am to 5 pm, both at the Navy Yard and also the Navy Memorial at 7th and Pennsylvania, NW. Events and offerings at the Navy Yard include the Navy Birthday Celebration 9th Annual NJROTC Color Guard Drill Meet, a performance by the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team, the Display Ship Barry, the Navy Museum (with activities for children), a performance by the U.S. Naval Academy Band, and displays from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (though I'm guessing Mark Harmon won't be there), Naval Sea Systems Command, and the Navy Yard Fire Department, and more.
There will be continuous free bus shuttle service between the U.S. Navy Memorial and the Washington Navy Yard via the Eastern Market and Navy Yard Metro stations between 10 AM and 5:00 p.m. Photo ID is required to enter the Navy Yard. If you're walking over, pedestrians should enter at the gate at Sixth and M, SE; vehicles should arrive at the 11th and N gate.
More information about Navy Day in DC is available on the NavyMemorial.org web site.
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Oct 8, 2008 11:54 PM
A heads up: Those of you not living under a rock know that we're closing in on Election Day, which at my place of employment is the equivalent of the Super Bowl, the seventh game of the World Series, the moon landing, and the Oscars all rolled up into one. My time is going to be pretty short, so I may be a bit slow with updates and posts over the next few weeks. But maybe you won't even notice! Plus, I'm guessing I might be able to at least steal a few seconds every so often to Tweet something useful (or not useful).
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Oct 8, 2008 6:30 PM
At Monday night's ANC 6B Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, there was a presentation about the new plans for the southeast corner of Eighth Street and Virginia Avenue, where a few years ago a small group of investors planned a four-story condo building dubbed "The Admiral." As I mentioned a few days back, the owners are now wanting to switch to an office building that would still have ground floor retail, and are going in front of the Board of Zoning Adjustment on Nov. 25 for some items that need to be addressed as part of this change.
According to the presentation, the new office building would use the same design as the condo building, with a few tweaks (they appear to be wanting to get rid of the turret in the original design). But because of the switch to office space, the number of parking spaces required goes up to 30, far more than the 13 in the condo design. According to the architects, groundwater and possible soil contamination issues (since a gas station used to be located there) would make digging two extra levels of parking prohibitively expensive, and so they are seeking relief from the 30-space requirement. (And, for those wondering, the garage entrance would be on L Street, not Eighth or Virginia).
Commissioner David Garrison asked about the ownership of the lot (which has been on the market for nearly a year) and about the property's tax status, given that it was listed on the city's tax sale rolls last month. He was told that the lot has not been sold but that investment partnerships are being shuffled and sold, which should be completed soon, and that the delinquent taxes are to have been taken care of; Garrison asked for some sort of documentation on both before the ANC votes (presumably on Oct. 14) on whether or not to support the zoning exception requests.
 

Oct 7, 2008 2:17 PM
Although the leasing office has been open for a few weeks now, I only just visited Onyx on First this past weekend. They're still putting on the finishing touches (their certificate of occupancy came through not too long ago), so I was only able to see the main floor and one of the model units, but at least now I do finally have photos from the inside of the building (scroll down if the link doesn't jump you down the page). I also got a couple shots from the roof, but things aren't quite completed up there, so I didn't get a photo of the pool. And since they're now open, I've moved Onyx to "completed" status.
The Axiom apartment building at 100 I has been open for a little while, but I hadn't gotten myself in there since a pre-occupancy construction-dust tour back in June. That has now been rectified, and I've posted photos of the common areas and one of the model units. (Didn't get back to the roof, though.) You can also see my interior photos from sibling Jefferson/70 I, to see the warehouse vs. modern differences in the designs.
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More posts: 70/100 I, jpi, Onyx, Square 743N
 

Oct 6, 2008 7:05 PM
A press release from the mayor's office (not yet online) tells us that this afternoon Mayor Fenty accepted $800,000 from the developers of Florida Rock/RiverFront for the construction of Diamond Teague Park next door. This contribution was part of the second-stage Planned Unit Development approval given by the Zoning Commission a few months back for the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project.
Here's what the press release says about the park (emphases mine): "The District will use the $800,000 contribution from Florida Rock to help pay for Diamond Teague Park, which is dedicated to the memory of Diamond Teague, a member of the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) who was murdered five years ago. The Park will include a water taxi; new boat slips for the ECC and fire and life safety vessels; an environmental pier for educational groups, kayaks and canoes; and a riverfront boardwalk and a half-acre park. Construction of the park is expected to start in November and will be completed this spring."
The event was also touted as an "unveiling" of the plans for the Florida Rock site, which I'm assuming (since I wasn't able to be at this event today) haven't changed too much since they were approved by the Zoning Commission in May. The press release has the raw numbers, which don't look too different: "Florida Rock's 'Riverfront on the Anacostia' will include about 560,000 square feet of residential and hotel space - with 29,000 square feet is reserved for affordable housing. It will also include about 545,000 square feet of commercial office space, at least 80,000 square feet of retail and a large waterfront plaza with a waterfront promenade."
But there is one line in the release that's going to chagrin those who have been looking forward to this project: "Construction could begin as soon as 2011." During the time leading up to the final zoning approvals, RiverFront's developers had said that it was possible that the first phase of the project--the eastern office building and the public plaza, adjacent to Teague Park--could see construction begin in fall 2009.
 

Oct 6, 2008 9:05 AM
* I've had a couple people write in to note that construction fences have been put up in the past few days around both the closed Exxons at South Capitol and I and 11th and M. I haven't heard anything about what might be happening at these sites--as of mid-September, neither lot had been sold, and with the public space and building permits data feeds still offline, there's no hint available from that end of things. (The underground storage tanks were removed from both locations right when they closed.) If anyone's heard anything, drop me a line.
* The mayor's schedule today has a "Diamond Teague Press Conference" scheduled for 3:15 pm at First and Potomac, on the grand staircase at Nationals Park. Alas, I can't be there, but perhaps it's some sort of status update on the construction of the park, which is supposed to get underway this fall.
* A little off-topic, but on Tuesday night (Oct. 7) there is a debate between the city's seven candidates for the two at-large council seats, at Tyler Elementary at 10th and G streets, SE. Then, after the forum, there's a Second Presidential Debate Watch Party being held at Finn Maccool's on Eighth Street.
* And, today (Oct. 6) is the last day to register to vote in DC for the general election. The DC Board of Elections office will be open until midnight. No excuses!
 

Oct 5, 2008 9:51 AM
I took a few quick pictures on First Street and Fourth Street on Saturday, to capture 909 New Jersey and Capitol Quarter in the late-afternoon sun--you can see all of them with their befores here.
I also finally got to some other shots to fill in two glaring holes in my portfolio, but it might be a couple of days until I get those posted. Until then, you'll just have to guess.
 

Oct 3, 2008 4:33 PM
I wrote a few days back about the appearance of a zoning variance request for a new office building at 801 Virginia Avenue, site of the once-planned Admiral condo project that fell by the wayside last year. The Board of Zoning Adjustment will be taking it up on Nov. 25, and I now see this request on the ANC 6B docket, first at its Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on Oct. 7, and then in front of the full ANC on Oct. 14. Both meetings are at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE. (As always, all these dates are on my nifty Near Southeast Events Calendar, brought to you by Google Calendar with all sorts of bells and whistles to either subscribe to an RSS feed of calendar updates or add the events to your own Google Calendar or other iCal-enabled offering.)
 

Oct 3, 2008 2:22 PM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only): "In response to the burgeoning credit crisis, local multifamily developer JPI East has reduced its development and production capacity, laying off half its development divisions. The company would not say how many people were involved, but insiders say it was fewer than 10."
As for JPI's projects in Near Southeast, including the almost-completed 70 and 100 I, the under-construction 909 New Jersey, and the in-development 23 I? "The company still has 10 deals under construction in the region, including three luxury apartment projects in the Capitol Riverfront district near Nationals Park. All three have the debt and equity to go forward, [JPI East's president] says." It might be worth noting, however, that the previously announced September 2008 start date for 23 I has come and gone; and the Wendy's building is still standing, and I haven't so far seen any raze permits coming through the pipeline for it.
 

Oct 3, 2008 10:10 AM
A recent wander past the Office of Property Management page on 225 Virginia (aka the old Post Plant) brings the news that the deadline for proposals from entities interested in taking over the city's $500,000-a-month sublease has been pushed back to Oct. 15. The page has also been updated with a few other items of note:
* One of the results of the case that's coming before the Zoning Commission on Oct. 27 that seeks to add the plant's block to the Capitol South Receiving Zone would be to allow the property to receive transferred development rights, which allows for increased density (i.e., add some floors on top), though the page notes that "[a]dditional height is expected to be subject to some design review by the Office of Planning."
* The building is not a historic building, and the city will not be seeking any historic landmark designation for it.
There's also this: "The trash transfer station located at 900 New Jersey Avenue, SE is expected to be relocated by September, 2009." I get asked a lot about What The Deal Is with the trash transfer station, so here's a bit of a roundup:
The city is working on moving the current DPW operations out of the building to other locations around the area, with that September 2009 mentioned above now being the official timetable (though perhaps some of the functions will be gone sooner than that). In the meantime, the city is still waiting for the little plot of land on the edge of the transfer station known as Reservation 17A to be transferred to District control from the Feds. (That land will then be transferred from the city to William C. Smith to round out the land that will be home to their 1.1-million-sq-ft 800 New Jersey Avenue project.) This transfer has been hung up for almost two years (it's part of the same transfer that would give Federal land at Poplar Point and in Hill East to the city), but there may be some movement soon.
The next step once DPW has left and the land transfer is settled would be for the city to start the infrastructure work, environmental cleanup, and demolition around the trash transfer site (including the new section of I Street to be built between New Jersey and Second), which will be paid for via another PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) plan that requires financing via the bond and credit markets--you know, those same bond and credit markets that are wheezing just a wee bit right now.
[All together now:] We shall see....
 

Oct 2, 2008 2:07 PM
This is from the latest BID e-mail, and I just saw them in action on Eighth Street myself: "e-cruzers.com announces their new Promotional Lunch Shuttle Service, serving the Capitol Riverfront M Street Corridor from Maritime Plaza to the Navy Yard Metro Station. FREE RIDES to and from Barracks Row from 11 am - 2:30 pm will be given on all fair weather days. Visit BarracksRow.org for all of the dining and shopping! For cooler days ahead, shuttles will be enclosed and heated. Queue up at 3rd & M Streets or give e-cruzers a call at (443) 497-4769. " According to their web site, the vehicles (which were a staple around the neighborhood during the baseball season) "have a top speed of 25 mph, produce 'zero' emissions and run almost silent." The carts "are licensed, registered and insured [and] are street legal on all roads where the speed limit is 35 mph or less."
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Oct 2, 2008 8:40 AM
Two upcoming events, mentioned in the Capitol Riverfront BID's e-mail-only newsletter:
* On Friday (Oct. 3), the new Wachovia Branch at 20 M Street is having its official Grand Opening celebration, from noon to 4 pm. Stop by "for some food, music, and prizes!"
* On Oct. 24, the nonprofit group Living Classrooms is holding an event dubbed "A Night at The Yards," to raise money for their operations, including the Discovery Creek Children's Museum, and the City Kids Wildreness Project. It's at at Fourth and Tingey streets, from 7 pm to 12:30 am. Tickets are $125 each. There will be food and drinks, and a performance by the English Beat. (No, seriously.) Living Classrooms, a non-profit group that "uses maritime settings, community revitalization projects and other challenging learning environments" to provide hands-on education and job skills training for students (especially at-risk youth), has plans to eventually build its new "main campus building" on the far eastern edge of the Waterfront Park at the Yards
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Oct 1, 2008 4:51 PM
I've gotten a couple messages over the past few days from people passing on rumors that perhaps a restaurant is getting ready to occupy some or all of the 7,500-sq-ft space in the ground floor of Capitol Hill Tower on New Jersey Avenue, north of L. Here is the complete response I got from CHT's developer when I asked if there was any news: "Not yet ready to announce but stay tuned."
 
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