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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: November 2005
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Homewood Suites Hotel
82 I Street
1244 South Capitol
Yards/Parcel A
Virginia Ave. Tunnel
New Douglass Bridge
Southeast Blvd.
Yards/Condo Project
Yards/Icon Theater
1333 M St.
909 Half St.
Akridge/Half St.
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Capper Apts.
250 M St.
New Marine Barracks
Nat'l Community Church
Factory 202/Yards
Congressional Square
1000 South Capitol
SC1100
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Lumber Shed ('13)
Boilermaker Shops ('13)
Camden South Capitol ('13)
Canal Park ('12)
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)
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45 Blog Posts
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The DC CFO office has posted Natwar Gandhi's prepared remarks from Monday's roundtable on the stadium--the PDF also includes a table of estimates of the costs for the stadium, showing the new $589 million figure. [On another front, Mr. Gandhi, I know you are very busy these days fending off snarky attacks from DC council members, but could you prod your staff to get the DC Property Sales database updated? I'm pretty sure there have been more than four property transactions in all of DC since Sept. 30th (although you were certainly quick to get the 45 stadium property eminent domain transfers into the system).... ]
More posts: Nationals Park
 

The scheduled Nov. 28 hearing on the new proposed amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay was again deferred, and is now scheduled for Dec. 5 at 6:00 pm. The main objectives for the proposed amendment are to further regulate density transfer available through the existing combined lot provisions; to require Zoning Commission review of development proposals throughout the overlay area; to establish retail requirements along Half Street SE and First Street SE; and to establish setback and step back requirements on Half Street SE, South Capitol Street, and Potomac Avenue.  (FYI, the CG Overlay is mapped to include an area roughly bounded by M Street to the north, the Anacostia River to the south, Fort McNair to the west, and the Southeast Federal Center site to the east.) The proposed amendment is in its early stages, there will no doubt be much discussion and back-and-forth.
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From Wednesday'sWashington Times, "Evans: No need for $20M for D.C.", discusses the misstatement about a $20 million payment from MLB, the status of the lease negotiations, and how the city council potentially would vote. Today also brings an AP story ("MLB Pressures DC on Ballpark") about a letter sent to Mayor Williams and Chairman Cropp from MLB expressing concern about the progress of the lease negotiations. And, a day late, here's Marc Fischer's Tuesday column in the Post, "Grinches Try to Steal Baseball."

More posts: Nationals Park
 

"Company Invests in Capital to Redevelop Blighted Areas" is a nice profile of Forest City Enterprises, developer of Capper/Carrollsburg and the Southeast Federal Center, in its hometown paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The article says that ground will be broken on the first part of the huge Federal Center redevelopment in 2007. (The article is part of a series detailing FCE's projects around the country.) For those of you interested in Southwest and the Waterside Mall redevelopment, the article mentions it as well....  [Full disclosure: I'm quoted deep down in the article.]
More posts: Capper, The Yards
 

Blech, after all this stadium stuff recently, I feel the need to clense my digital palate, so I've returned to my original Near Southeast mission for a moment and have posted some new photos. My latest Capper Seniors #1 photos show that construction is moving along, and I've added a cool comparison to my New Jersey Avenue page from the SE Freeway (don't ask how I took them) showing the impact of Capitol Hill Tower and the DOT HQ on the Near SE skyline in the past 11 months. And I've documented some minor changes in the landscape of the Ballpark District (with the demolition of a few small buildings along Half Street) and the 8th Street Historic District. I also tossed in a few updated shots on my M Street, Capitol Hill Tower, and DOT HQ pages, too. (As always, scroll the pages and look for the  icon.) Speaking of the Ballpark District, Stephen Green of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development said today at the stadium hearing that the four finalists for the "master developer" gig were interviewed by the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation today, and that a team should be named by the first or second week in December.
 

From today's DC city council roundtable on the new baseball stadium: The Post reports that the city will submit the stadium lease agreement to the council for approval ("District to Submit Lease Agreement for Stadium"), which, as the article notes, "sets up another tenuous December for boosters of the $535 million stadium project along the Anacostia River in Southeast. After a bitter debate, the council passed the stadium-financing package last December by a 7-6 vote."  (Maybe the stadium can be paid for by selling a Nationals-branded line of Maalox to stadium supporters.) In better news for the pro-stadium folks, negotiators say that the lease agreement is close to completion, and DC Sports and Entertainment Commission chair Mark Tuohey told the city council today that baseball will pay $20 million for additional costs ranging from land acquisition to labor, insurance and materials. It was also said that the stadium will be going in front of the zoning board in early December. UPDATE: streaming video of the roundtable is now available on the DC council web site.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

From Saturday's Post ("New Hurdle For Stadium Lease Deal"): "A majority on the D.C. Council is demanding a vote on a stadium lease between the city and Major League Baseball, and several council members said they will reject the deal unless baseball agrees to pay for any cost overruns on the project. [...] The council's involvement in the lease represents a setback for the mayor, the sports commission and baseball, all of which had been operating under the assumption that any lease agreement reached by the negotiators would be locked in place." From Sharon Ambrose, who voted in favor of the financing package last year: "I'm not prepared to continue being one of the biggest baseball boosters in the city without taking a look at that lease. Baseball is something the city really wants, but nobody wants it at any cost. . . . Wouldn't you think baseball wants a snazzy, attractive stadium in the nation's capital? Well, guys, ante up a little bit."

More posts: Nationals Park
 

The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is now saying (in Thursday's Washington Times, "Ballpark estimates made without data on area, design") that they were "forced to predict the cost in 2004 before knowing where the ballpark would be built or what it would look like and that unforeseen delays contributed to rising costs that have pressured the city to stay under a $535 million budget. " But Mark Tuohey, chairman of DCSEC, is quoted as saying, "There are no cost overruns ... it's all manageable. We're going to build the stadium for $535 million." Jack Evans is quoted (again) about getting different designs (saying that he asked HOK Sport for three designs, but got only one), but DC government official Stephen Green says that the "iconic" glass-stone-and-steel design is not inherently too costly.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

The back-and-forth about the new baseball stadium has become exasperating for everyone--and finally Thomas Boswell has weighed in, with "Play Ball--Now" in Thursday's Post. The summary: "But now is the time to abandon such tough-guy negotiating methods. Both sides should stop stalling. Stop pretending to debate who pays for the last 2,000 parking spaces for the richest customers. Or (get a load of this one) what happens if the District is destroyed by a super catastrophe like New Orleans and the new ballpark has cost overruns. Seriously, that is the kind of stuff these geniuses claim they've been squabbling about. What, no mandatory Meteor From Mars insurance? Let's finally cut to the chase. Both sides need to stop posturing over the last few million bucks and bragging rights. Instead, compromise, shake hands and start mining the gold from this Washington mother lode. Together."

More posts: Nationals Park
 

The Washington Times is reporting that the DC Council will be told at the Nov. 28 stadium roundtable that the $535 million cap on the new stadium's pricetag is written in stone, meaning that either the design would have to be scaled back or Major League Baseball would have to chip in (yeah, right). The story also reports that the stadium lease agreement appears to be far enough along that it will be able to be discussed publicly at Monday's roundtable (which is expected to be, the article quite rightly notes, a fairly contentious meeting). Will the "iconic" glass-stone-and-steel design that was presented to DC officials recently have to be scaled back? Would a brick retro stadium a la Camden Yards be cheaper? Will this ever end?
More posts: Nationals Park
 

The DC government has delayed by one month the vacate date for landowners in the footprint of the new Nationals stadium, according to Wednesday's Post ("Stadium Property Takeover Delayed"). Properties must now be vacated by Feb. 3, 2006; the mayor's spokesman says this will not effect the stadium's completion date. The article also says that several of the landowners filed counterarguments in court this week to the city's eminent domain proceedings: "Some are contesting the city's legal right to the land, some are challenging the amount of money the city is offering for the properties and some are fighting on both fronts." A hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 24, although one owner has requested a hearing date before the Feb. 3 vacate deadline. You can visit my Stadium Offers page to see which lots have been seized by the city, what the properties were assessed for in 2005, and what the city offered.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Zoning Update: The hearing on the new proposed amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay is now scheduled for Nov. 28 at 6:00 pm. The main objectives for the proposed amendment are to further regulate density transfer available through the existing combined lot provisions; to require Zoning Commission review of development proposals throughout the overlay area; to establish retail requirements along Half Street SE and First Street SE; and to establish setback and step back requirements on Half Street SE, South Capitol Street, and Potomac Avenue.  (FYI, the CG Overlay is mapped to include an area roughly bounded by M Street to the north, the Anacostia River to the south, Fort McNair to the west, and the Southeast Federal Center site to the east.) Also, at Monday's meeting, the commission voted to approve a proposed text amendment to allow asphalt plants as permitted uses within industrial zone districts subject to special exception review and also to specifically allow Senate Asphalt (a plant being forced to leave its 60 P Street SE location because of the baseball stadium) to relocate to DC Village.
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ANC6D chair Andy Litsky has penned an open letter to Mayor Williams (posted at DC Watch, scroll down to find it) alerting him to the Nov. 28 town meeting being held by ANC6D and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly, "How Baseball Will Impact Southwest." He explains: "Whether by design or default, it has become apparent that baseball stadium project management is balkanized. We'd like our November 28th meeting to provide an opportunity for all parties under one roof to provide our community with as complete a picture as possible of what is going on presently and what we can expect moving forward. Timelines and, more importantly, a clear delineation of who's in charge, would be most welcome."  The letter goes on to cite specific DC government entities that have their hands in the stadium, and what organizers would like to hear from them at this meeting.
More posts: ANC News, Nationals Park
 

Happy Monday morning! In "D.C. Ballpark's Rising Price Tag Compels Cuts," the Post details growing problems with the city's attempts to stay under the mandated $535 million price tag for building the new Nationals baseball stadium: "City officials had included money to repave roads and expand a Metro station near the stadium in the $535 million budget approved by the D.C. Council last year. Those funds now will go instead toward labor and building materials and to cover the cost of land for the stadium, which also is more expensive than anticipated. [...] The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, which is overseeing the construction, determined that the cost of the distinctive ballpark designed by its architects has risen from $244 million to $337 million. That set off a scramble by top city officials who have since reduced the cost to $300 million but still are seeking money to complete the project."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

A Sunday editorial in the Washington Times ("More Baseball Blunders") gives it to Major League Baseball for ballking at the city's proposal that MLB pay the $6 million insurance that Wall Street is requiring for the new baseball stadium in the event of a player strike or terrorist attack: "The fact that MLB can balk at even this tiny a committment with any credibility is another indication of the sorry depths of these negotiations. No sweetheart deal is good enough."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

After days of no-progress-on-the-lease stories, today we get to shift gears, with word that the design of the new ballpark is being shown to DC officials, and that the reaction is positive. From the Post ("Stadium's Modern Design is Clear Winner on Council"): "A much-anticipated design for a new home for the Washington Nationals features glass, stone and steel as the primary materials and departs sharply from the popular red-brick throwback ballparks. The design will not be released for several weeks and still could be modified, but Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and key city officials have given the nod to the modern look." Mr. Bowtie, Linda Cropp, and Sharon Ambrose gave the design high marks, but apparently Jack Evans is still working hard to convince everyone that a Camden Yards-like red brick stadium is what DC needs (and that it would be cheaper). More on the design, from the Post: it "features an exterior wall largely made of glass and broken up by limestone portals, according to city sources who have seen the drawings. Aspects of the design create a translucent quality, offering fans inside views of the surrounding neighborhood and teasing those outside with glimpses of game activities. [...] Two cantilevered ramps leading to the upper decks contain viewing platforms from which fans can pause to take in sweeping scenes of the city -- the federal monuments to the north and the Anacostia River to the south."

More posts: Nationals Park
 

After 19 months of construction, the Navy Yard entrance at 11th and O Streets is set to reopen on Nov. 21, and will become the sole entrance for visitors and deliveries. A new visitor parking lot has been constructed as well. Next question--when will the public be able to access the beautiful Riverwalk the Navy has constructed along the Anacostia without having to show ID? (When visiting the area this past weekend, I saw what appear to be new fences between the Riverwalk and the Navy Yard itself, and a nicely done brick gate to enter the Riverwalk from the east, but the gate is closed and cyclone fences block it as well.) UPDATE: Scroll to the bottom of my Navy Yard page to see photos of both the new O Street entrance and the fenced-off Riverwalk.
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(UPDATED to fix address for Nov. 28 meeting) ANC 6D and the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly are holding a Baseball Stadium Update meeting on Monday, Nov. 28 at 7 pm at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, 222 M Street SW. They are working to get city officials, Sports Commission officials, and others to attend to discuss "traffic, construction, zoning and other important issues." This was announced at the ANC 6D meeting on Nov. 14. Also at that meeting, the ANC voted to support the Florida Rock project; as for Capper / Carrollsburg, while the ANC voted to support the alley closings/street openings portion of the zoning application, they are for now opposed to the second-stage PUD. ANC Commissioner Williams is trying to organize a special meeting to hear more from the community so that another vote can be taken by the commission before the zoning deadline (former residents are complaining they are having problems with the developers about their potential return to the development).
 

My patience is wearing thin having to track all these financing stories! "Think Tank Questions Stadium Financing Plan" in Thursday's District Extra in the Post highlights a study by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute which says "A private financing plan being used by the District to help pay for a new baseball stadium project has the potential to cost city taxpayers nearly $60 million in lost revenue." The specifics and numbers all make my head hurt, so your homework assignment tonight is to read both links yourself and come to your own conclusions :-).

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Mayor Williams has gotten personally involved in the negotiations between the city and Major League Baseball over the lease for the new baseball stadium, according to Wednesday's Post ("Williams Joins Talks With Baseball Officials"). In other news, the City Council gave final approval to the technical amendments correcting the wording of the stadium financing package.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

District officials are prepared to ask Major League Baseball for a $24 million letter of credit and a $20 million payment for parking costs when high-stakes negotiations over the terms of a new stadium lease resume today, says the Post ("DC to Seek More Money from Baseball Officials"). Read the article for the details, but it does appear that the city is trying a slightly different tack from the request last week for $6 million outright to cover "catastrophe" insurance. Will it work? We shall see....

More posts: Nationals Park
 

DC council member Jack Evans, one of the biggest champions of bringing baseball to DC, is angry over the continuing stalemate over the stadium, and has launched a broadside at Major League Baseball, according to NBC4, who quotes Evans as saying that baseball must sign an important new stadium lease or just "move the team somewhere else." Quoting the article: "To sell bonds to build the new stadium along the Anacostia waterfront, Wall Street requires someone to guarantee that the $6 million annual rent will be paid despite any disaster or work stoppage. [...] Baseball is insisting the city bear the cost through expensive insurance. Evans said the city won't commit more money and baseball can move the Washington Nationals again." The money quote from Jack: "This is non-negotiable, so you either agree to this or you go somewhere else, because we are wasting our time. This is non-negotiable, and that's where we are right now," he said. "We are building a $535 million stadium for this group. That's enough." UPDATE: The Post's article ("Baseball Balking Over Stadium Rent") adds background and detail, as does the Washington Times.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Adrian G. Washington, president of the Neighborhood Development Company, has been appointed as head of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, replacing Andy Altman, reports Saturday's Post ("Ballpark Area Chief Named"). Washington was raised in Anacostia, has an MBA from Harvard, and has spent 18 years developing and rehabilitating houses in DC. The Post article also says that the AWC has named the four finalists in its search for a "master developer" to oversee the creation of millions of square feet of housing, office, retail, and hotel space expected around the new ballpark. They are: Cordish Co. of Baltimore (which hired architecture firm Michael Graves & Associates, designers of the new Department of Transporation Headquaters around the corner from the stadium site); Monument Realty LLC of the District and its partner Federal Realty Investment Trust of Rockville; Forest City Enterprises Inc. of Ohio and its partner D.C.-based Western Development Corp.; and Akridge of the District. The selection committee is supposed to give its recommendation to the AWC board by early December. UPDATE: Here's the press release on Adrian Washington's appointment.

 

The 11th Street Bridges EIS web site has posted a two-page Project Overview document explaining (briefly!) the scope of the project and the "aggressive" schedule (with a timetable showing construction of the improvements happening in the 2007-2010 timeframe). There will be two meetings to review the draft set of alternatives before they are selected for detailed study, on Dec. 13 and 14. The handouts from the October scoping meetings are a good place to get general information on what the project is trying to accomplish (mainly, to add additional ramps to allow better access between the 11th Street Bridges and the Anacostia Freeway).
More posts: 11th Street Bridges
 

I attended the Community Ballpark Meeting on Nov. 2; it was hosted by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, which led to grumbling from the audience that the many DC government agencies who also have a hand in the stadium and surrounding development weren't in attendance. The one real piece of news (to me, anyway) was that the orientation of the ballpark has been decided on, and it's north-northeast, as you can see in the schematic contained in the handout. There are supposed to be public meetings in December to discuss the architecture, which I guess means that the design of the stadium will be unveiled at some point before then (hee hee). They are planning for zoning hearings in January, and now list April 2006 as the groundbreaking date. UPDATE: I've now scanned the 17-page agenda/handout (PDF), which has a lot of bullet points addressing economic opportunities, neighborhood "protection" (i.e., noise, lighting), transportation systems (traffic, parking, Metro), and community activities being undertaken (none of which at the moment are actually in the stadium neighborhood, which brought about much audience angst). UPDATE II (11/11): The Nov. 10 Voice of the Hill has (on page 3) a story on the meeting, detailing the somewhat fractious question and answer session.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

This is news from this summer, but I only just now came across it: a story in the September Capitol Hill Restoration Society newsletter (bottom of page 1) describes how the CHRS helped to prevent the demolition of 15 of the 19 existing private homes in the Capper/Carrollsburg footprint as the project goes forward.
More posts: Capper
 

ANC 6D has posted the agenda for its November meeting, at 7 pm on Monday Nov. 14., at 65 I Street SW. Agenda items include votes on Capper/Carrollsburg and Florida Rock PUDs, plus an update by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission on baseball stadium zoning and construction issues.
 

Thursday's Post ("Bill Would Sell Land Promised to DC") picks up on what NBC4 published last week, that a bill in Congress would have the effect of forcing DC to buy certain federally owned property rather than have it transferred to the city's ownership for free. The gist is thus: "Pombo's plan has also outraged D.C. politicians because it would undermine legislation sponsored by Davis and endorsed by President Bush that would transfer land for free to the city to compensate for Congress's ban on a commuter tax and for the resulting increase in the city's fiscal burden. The areas affected by the bill include 100-acre Poplar Point, where the District is planning a 70-acre waterfront park surrounded by offices, shops, hundreds of apartments and possibly a professional soccer stadium; 15 acres of parking lots and fields just north of Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, where the Washington Nationals baseball team currently plays; and parcels near the Eastern Market Metro station on Capitol Hill, Waterside Mall in Southwest and the site of a new stadium for the Nationals just off South Capitol Street." But note that the only land in the stadium footprint that is currently federally owned is little tiny Reservation 124, the triangle of land between 1st, P, and Potomac. Rep. Davis is quoted: "At the end of the day, this stuff is not going to become law." UPDATE: The entire budget bill was pulled late today.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

Bud says that there won't be a new Nationals owner by the time the owners meet next week in Milwaukee. He's still interviewing prospective ownerships groups. (Oh, and there's no lease agreement yet, either.)

More posts: Nationals Park
 

For those of you who just can't get enough of zoning regulations, here's the final rulemaking and zoning order published in the Nov. 4 DC Register that amended the Capitol Gateway Overlay District regulations to include specifications for the ballpark. (Still waiting for Chapter 16/Capitol Gateway to reappear in the online DC Municipal Regulations!) Note that the design of the ballpark itself will still have to go through zoning hearings; nothing's appeared on the Zoning Commission schedule yet, but there's been hints of a January 2006 hearing date--I imagine that any delay past January on the zoning process would possibly start to impact the start of construction. Tick, tick, tick...!

More posts: Nationals Park, zoning
 

On Nov. 1 the city recorded in its real property database the change in ownership of those baseball stadium properties seized by the city via eminent domain. Out of the 23 landowners, 16 had their property taken--presumably the other seven have reached a sale agreement with the city, although those sales have yet to be recorded. You can see which were seized on my Stadium Offers page; those 16 owners will now go through the courts to have the fair price determined for their land (presuming they fail to prove that the seizure was illegal, which most observers seem to think is likely given the Supreme Court's Kelo decision).
More posts: Nationals Park
 

I've added a new page for the East M Street Area, that triangle of land east of the 11th Street Bridges and south of the Southeast Freeway that makes up the very eastern portion of Near Southeast. The Maritime Plaza development is the most obvious occupant of this area, but rowers and the like have staked a claim to this site's water access as well. The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's plans should bring welcome changes to this stretch in the years to come. (The addition of this area to the main map on my home page is not particularly elegant, but I couldn't shrink the map any farther!) I've also renamed the former East End page, giving it its proper designation "8th Street Historic District." (Both these monikers come from the Near Southeast Urban Design Framework, which is worth a look if you've never seen it or haven't looked at it in a while, to see what the city had in mind back in 2003 for this neck of the woods--you know, before anyone was talking about a stadium!!)
 

Not quite two years after spending $92 million to purchase the Maritime Plaza I & II (just east of the 11th Street Bridges), The Bernstein Companies has sold the two buildings for $115 million to Investcorp and Brinkman Associates. Buildings I & II, which contain 345,000 sq ft of office space, are part of the 12-acre Maritime Plaza Park, which will ultimately offer 800,000 sf of office space and a 250-room hotel. No timeline on the development of the rest of the project, which is being handled by Lincoln Property Company.

 

A nice piece on CBS's The Early Show about Bob Nixon, the founder of the Earth Conservation Corps, which works with at-risk kids from the community to clean up the Anacostia River.
 

The AP reports that the Post reports (don't you love that?) that there's still no deal on the lease agreement on the new baseball stadium, and that the two sides will continue to talk next week. Sticking points include terms of rent payments and development rights outside the stadium.

More posts: Nationals Park
 

A fun quote from Mayor Tony in the Examiner's piece on the possible stadium cost overruns ("Mayor promises Nats stadium will cost D.C. less than $535M"): "People aren't going to be sitting on folding chairs or rugs, but it's going to come in under $535 [million]."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

This morning's Washington Times reports that DC and Major League Baseball officials are to meet today to finalize the lease agreement on the new baseball stadium. Other notes: DCSEC officials downplay the Cadillac-vs-Buick talk of scaling back the stadium design; and DCSEC is to meet with HOK Sport on Monday morning to review ballpark designs (with briefings for city officials and the council in the pipeline before the designs are released publicly). This is outside of my purview, but I get asked about it a lot so I'll mention it although I won't be following it--the article says that DCSEC has received Marion Barry's support to build a new soccer stadium at Poplar Point, which is just across the Anacostia River from Near Southeast. From the article: " Barry, who has long opposed the construction of a facility for D.C. United east of the Anacostia River, changed his position after reviewing plans that included the construction of affordable housing and neighborhood-serving retail, commission members said.  [...] Officials hope the new soccer stadium can open around the same time as the new ballpark, but the city must first wait for a transfer of the land from the federal government. Legislation to approve the transfer awaits action by Congress."
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Reading the Associated Press so you don't have to.... In "Mayor Williams Hopes To Firm Up Ballpark Lease; Avoid Overrun Costs," Mr. Bowtie says that he hopes the lease agreement on the new ballpark is firmed up this week, and that the new owners (whoever they are) may be called on to add some of the "bells and whistles" needed to make the ballpark "special" (you know, a Cadillac and not a Buick). And in "City Pushes Job Opportunities with Stadium Construction," there's (very) brief coverage of the Ballpark Business and Economic Opportunity Conference that was held today at the Convention Center.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Wednesday's Post brings us "Stadium Cutbacks Considered", which states that "the rising price of construction materials has significantly increased the projected cost of the District's baseball stadium complex, prompting officials to begin discussing what to eliminate from the project[....] [P]otential cutbacks could come from features inside or outside the ballpark, such as reducing the size of concourses, suites and other amenities or moving parking above ground and reducing the number of retail stores at the site." While this sounds disconcerting, I think a simple solution has probably already been arrived at, if not announced--to no longer include the land immediately south of N Street, which was always considered to be "amenity space," as part of the stadium construction, and instead let the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation handle that land's development as part of the Ballpark District. And this is hinted at in the Post piece: "Sports commission officials said last week that plans for underground parking, retail shops on the stadium site and some plazas outside the park might be eliminated. Those features are not considered core items by Major League Baseball, but they have been sought by the city to help generate more revenue from a ballpark entertainment district along the Anacostia in near Southeast that would feature restaurants and retail. [...] If necessary, features not contained in the agreement will be eliminated or paid for in other ways, such as by private developers." In fact, a schematic drawing of the stadium site included in a handout at the DCSEC's public ballpark meeting this evening show those areas as blacked out. I would imagine that private developers would be quite happy to get the opportunity to build on the stadium site, and the city would get the on-site retail and entertainment venues it wants without having to foot the bill....

 

By a 10-2 vote, the DC council approved the necessary "technical" amendments to the financing bill for the new baseball stadium. Tony's happy. UPDATE: Here's the AP's report on the vote, and NBC4's, which includes a fun additional tidbit about a bill in Congress demanding the federal government sell land to DC instead of giving it away, and that would include the sliver of a triangle at the intersection of 1st, P, and Potomac, which is on the stadium footprint. But it sounds like it won't be an issue, that a separate bill backed by Pres. Bush and Rep. Tom Davis would transfer the land.
More posts: Nationals Park
 

Tuesday's Washington Times summarizes the latest goings-on in DC Council-land with respect to the new baseball stadium:Linda Cropp says that the necessary changes have been made to the ballpark financing agreement to satisfy bond raters (these changes will be voted on today by the council, then a second time per council rules at their Dec. 1 session). The article also says that MLB officials will be meeting with city officials this week to work on the stadium lease agreement, which MLB hopes to have in place before announcing the team's new owner--although Vincent Orange has introduced legislation to be voted on this week which would require MLB to select an owner before the lease agreement is in place. Then there's that whole Orange-Cropp lawsuit thing
More posts: Nationals Park
 

It's amazing the things you stumble onto sometimes. I just found on the DC Government web site a page called Washington Nationals: Excitement, Opportunity, and Revitalized Neighborhoods, with links to other pages on the dc.gov site about the stadium and its related economic development. (Of course, most of the links are ones you can get from here, but a resource is a resource!)
More posts: staddis, Nationals Park
 

There will be a Community Update meeting about the new baseball stadium on Nov. 1 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Southeastern University. (I found out about this from an ad in November's Southwester--the ad is from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, so you'd think that they'd mention the meeting somewhere on their own web site, which I check religiously, but alas, there's no mention of it there as yet.) [bumped up as a reminder]
More posts: Nationals Park
 

There will be a DC Ballpark Business and Economic Opportunity Conference on Wednesday, Nov. 2, to "bring together contractors and subcontractors with public, private, and non-profit organizations that have responsibility for LSDBE business development, apprenticeship programs, and employment of District residents for a day-long conference on subcontracting and apprenticeship opportunities associated with construction of the new baseball stadium."  Also on Wednesday, Nov. 2., a WASA public meeting on their river cleanup efforts, Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE, 7:00-8:15 pm. Remember to look at my Upcoming Events Calendar to see what's on the Near Southeast agenda.... 
More posts: Nationals Park
 
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