Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - August 2005
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Aug 26, 2005 12:17 PM

Confirming the stories from earlier this week, the Washington Business Journal (reg. req.) reports that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission has chosen the joint venture of Clark Construction, Smoot Construction, and Hunt Construction Group to build the new Nationals stadium. (Here are the portfolios of stadiums built by Clark, Smoot, and Hunt.) Now, if only architects HOK Sport and Devrouax-Purnell would let us in on the secret of what this new stadium will look like! UPDATE: Here's the Post story on the choice, including the tidbit that the $23 million contract with Clark et al. must be approved by the DC Council. UPDATE II:  The DCSEC Press Release.

More posts: Nationals Park

Aug 26, 2005 11:27 AM
The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission has released a Request for Proposals to hire a construction contractor to manage utility relocation work for sewer and telephone lines within the stadium footprint. This work will go hand-in-hand with Pepco's work to remove and relocate power lines in the area, which the press release says will be done during the end of August through September. All utility relocation (including electric power, potable water, storm and sanitary sewers, natural gas, telecommunications, and cable television need to be completed by January 2006 so as not to delay stadium construction.
More posts: Nationals Park

Aug 25, 2005 3:03 PM

The DC Zoning Commission has scheduled a public hearing on Dec. 8, 2005 for the Florida Rock project. According to the hearing notice, Florida Rock is requesting approval of a second-stage Planned Unit Development as well as a zoning map amendment (are your eyes glazing over yet?), to allow for a nearly 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed use project, just south of the new baseball stadium. The project "would be developed as three separate buildings, but would visually appear as four buildings as the westernmost building is separated into two towers above the 32-foot elevation"; the buildings would be set back from the Anacostia River no less than 75 feet. The project's footprint spans not only the area marked on my map at right, but under the Frederick Douglass Bridge and all  the way down into Southwest  to S Street (from South Capitol Street to the river) toward Buzzard's Point. Given the intense interest in the baseball stadium having riverfront access, as well as the ongoing planning for rebuilding and rerouting the South Capitol Street bridge, it will be interesting to see how the Florida Rock project is designed. (The notice mentions that the building heights would taper down to 92 feet at 1st and Potomac.) Project architects Davis Buckley have a few small designs of the project on their web site, but these were done long before the stadium popped up on the radar screen.

More posts: Florida Rock, zoning

Aug 25, 2005 9:08 AM

Two baseball stadium-related stories in today's Post : "Stadium Estimates Still in Ballpark" reports that DC is still beneath the $165 million cost cap for acquiring the 14 acres of land in the stadium footprint, despite an increase of $18 million in the amount the city expects to pay for the land. Letters with the city's offers will go to out to the 33 landowners on Tuesday, according to the article; the owners will have 30 days to negotiate, and after that the city can take the land through eminent domain. The plan is still for the city to control all the land by the end of the year, so that construction on the stadium can begin in March 2006 for a scheduled opening in 2008. I was interested to see this tidbit: "By law, the city can make offers based on property values that do not take into account plans for a stadium," which will keep prices well below those for properties near (but not on) the stadium site.

Which brings us to article #2, "Monument Realty Buys Coveted SE Site," describing the purchase of a small lot at N and Van streets (right across the street from the stadium site, in the "stadium district") for $3 million, as part of Monument's assembling of acreage for a 750,000-square-foot office / retail / residential project. UPDATE: Washington Business Journal adds a bit of info.

Aug 23, 2005 6:54 AM

According to today's Post, Clark Construction of Bethesda has received the recommendation of the chief executive of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission to be the construction company for the new Nationals baseball stadium. The full DCSEC board will not vote on this until Friday, and could still choose a different company, according to the article. Clark teamed with Hunt Construction Group and Smoot Construction Group on its bid; the article says that the other contenders were Turner Construction, which teamed with Guilford Construction, and a joint bid from Barton Malow Co., Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and Essex Construction. UPDATE: A touch of additional information is in this Washington Business Journal story.

Speaking of the Sports and Entertainment Commission, they now have a New Ballpark page on their web site, with information on the architects handling the project, environmental assessments, and the Local, Small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (LSDBE's) opportunities that are anticipated with the new stadium. There's also a page for the public to leave and read comments about what they think the new stadium should be like. None of the pages say when the design will be unveiled, except for a small item noting that "this fall DCSEC will present [the environmental assessment] findings for review along with the stadium conceptual design." (I don't know how long these pages have been up--weeks ago I bookmarked their "New Ballpark" page, which has said nothing but "Under Construction," as I've checked it over and over. Only today do I do some surfing on their site and find that they've launched the page at a different URL. Bad webmastering! Bad!)

More posts: Nationals Park

Aug 23, 2005 6:42 AM

The District Department of Transportation has received a Best Practices in Smart Growth and Transportation Award for the South Capitol Gateway Project from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. According to the DDOT press release, "The award singles out DDOT in the category of Revitalizing Communities and Corridors for the smart growth features planned for the corridor and for realizing South Capitol Street as the southern grand entrance to the US Capitol, as envisioned in the historic L'Enfant Plan for the Nation's Capital." Quoting Transportation Director Dan Tangherlini, "The signature South Capitol/Frederick Douglass Bridge will be sensitively designed to connect travelers and neighborhoods to the river and to each other. The new bridge and streetscape will draw people to the corridor to live, work and enjoy the Anacostia River and waterfront." The release also describes planned transportation improvements for the corridor, including "a green median, wide sidewalks and street amenities as well as roadway, pedestrian, transit and bicycle improvements." For more, see DDOT's South Capitol Gateway Corridor and Anacostia Access Study as well as the National Capital Planning Commission's New Vision for South Capitol Street.

More posts: South Capitol St.

Aug 17, 2005 4:00 PM

If you're looking for some light summer reading, the transcript from the July 11 DC zoning board meeting--where changes to the text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District were discussed--has now been posted. If you can't get enough, you can go back to the June 2 transcript to read the board's first doings with the CG Overlay. It's expected that the zoning board will approve this text amendment at its September 15 public meeting. The Capitol Gateway district is the area where the baseball stadium will be built; however, this amendment does not handle the zoning for the stadium itself, which will have to come before the zoning board as its own case.

Aug 17, 2005 2:46 PM

E-mails have gone out to members of the Capitol Hill Tower priority preview list, allowing list members to make appointments to purchase one of the project's 344 co-ops. So I'm assuming sales should open to the general public before too much longer.

More posts: Capitol Hill Tower

Aug 15, 2005 11:27 AM

If you missed the Near Southeast chat on washingtonpost.com today, you can still read the transcript. It was a lot of fun, maybe I'll get to do it again someday!

More posts: Nationals Park

Aug 14, 2005 7:29 PM

Near Southeast hits the bigtime, with a front-page story in Monday's Post ("A Transformed Neighborhood Awaits Stadium") that jumps to two full pages of information and photos about the 'hood. The story gives a great feel for the mood as the land rush by developers transforms this formerly neglected neighborhood. A huge map lists 64 spots within Near Southeast that are being developed, sought after, or are held by developers who aren't divulging their plans. If some of the information and photos seem familiar, that's because your humble Near Southeast webmaster temporarily escaped the Post's Newsroom IT department and helped put together the package. Dana Hedgpeth and I will be taking questions and comments on Monday Aug. 15 at 11 am in a washingtonpost.com Live Online chat, so please join in to talk about all the goings on.

While frequent JDLand visitors will be up-to-speed on much on the content, there are some new nuggets to be found:

• Construction is expected to start in 2007 on the first project within the Southeast Federal Center, 400 residential units with accompanying small retail, with delivery anticipated in 2008. (Don't yet know where on the SFC's 44 acres these will be built.)
Monument Realty has now acquired all parcels on N Street between South Capitol and Half streets, as well with properties on both South Capitol and Half (in what I'm anticipating the city is going to start calling the Stadium District, so of course I had to create a new page for it).
Faison Associates has just acquired an acre of property that covers almost the entire western half of the block between 1st, New Jersey, L, and M. (But the On Luck Cafeteria on the corner of 1st and M remains a holdout.)
• The owner of the Splash car wash on I Street reveals that he has received multiple $8 million offers for his property and a neighboring parcel.
The Donohoe Cos. appear to be planning an office building for their property in the 1100 block of New Jersey Avenue.
• And, for those of you who've been following along for a while, you'll also enjoy reading the story of the Star Market at 2nd and L, which lived a solitary life until Capitol Hill Tower rose up around it.

Aug 13, 2005 9:01 AM

The DC Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting regarding Early Right of Way Acquisitions on the South Capitol Street Bridge Alignment Study Project, Tuesday, August 16, 2005, at 10 am, at the Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U, NW. According to the press release, the "purpose of this meeting is to provide the landowners and other interested persons with an opportunity to receive information about the project, DDOT's Early Acquisition Program, and to submit written and verbal comments." The realignment of the South Capitol Street (Frederick Douglass) Bridge is part of the huge plans for the redesign and redevelopment of South Capitol Street, as detailed in both the New Vision for South Capitol Street (NCPC), and DDOT's South Capitol Gateway Corridor and Anacostia Access Study. (UPDATE: Bumped up as a reminder.)

Aug 11, 2005 11:28 PM

The DC government is negotiating to purchase five acres of land in the area near the new baseball stadium, reports the Post, to help influence the development in the neighborhood by creating a "ballpark district" with restaurants, stores, and residential units. Two of the acres would come from the DC Water and Sewer Authority's land at 1st and O Streets, with another 3.2 acres to be acquired by taking control of the WMATA (Metro) bus depot and parking lot at Half and M Streets. Developers are already snapping up plenty of parcels in the area (specifically Monument Realty, which is assembling the acreage to build 750,000 sq ft of mixed-use offerings in the block north of the stadium), but by controlling some of the most desirable land (the Metro land on Half Street lies directly along the envisioned "promenade" entrance to the stadium), DC can do more to ensure that the stadium area sees the sort of development the city wants, and that the area is made into an attractive destination even on non-game days. And in other news, the article mentions that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation is close to unveiling its master plan for the waterfront redevelopment. (It also reminds us again that DC will be tendering their offers to landowners in the stadium footprint "within the next several weeks.")

Aug 11, 2005 11:59 AM

On Saturday Aug. 13 the National Building Museum opens Investigating Where We Live, displaying the results of their five-week summer outreach program that teaches young people how to use photography as a way to explore, document, and "interpret the built environment." The exhibit, designed by the participants, showcases photographs, poems, stories, and narratives from the 15 youngsters who explored Anacostia, the New York Avenue Corridor, and Near Southeast. The exhibit runs through Oct. 10.

More posts:

Aug 8, 2005 12:01 AM

The challenge of designing a new baseball stadium that symbolizes "the national pastime in the nation's capital" makes the front page of Monday's Post, in "DC Ballpark Architect Has Towering Test." Quoth the architect: "This stadium is going to be very light and modern and different." The article includes some good tidbits about what planners want for not only the ballpark but the surrounding streets, noting: "The challenge is magnified because the city intends to use the stadium as a catalyst to spur redevelopment along the waterfront, and the Nationals want to ensure that fans spend lots of money inside the ballpark. In addition, the ballpark is envisioned to be an iconic gateway as motorists cross the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge -- an anchor at the city's southern end that must tie into the monumental core."

More posts: Nationals Park

Aug 7, 2005 4:57 PM

Lots and lots and lots of new pictures posted on the site: the DOT, Southeast Federal Center, New Jersey Avenue, and Baseball Stadium pages all benefit from field trips I took this weekend into the Southeast Federal Center property (ID required to enter!) and over to Anacostia Park.

Aug 6, 2005 11:42 AM

From Saturday's Post: "A federal judge yesterday declined to issue an emergency 30-day injunction that would have stopped the District from purchasing or taking 33 properties it needs to build a baseball stadium in Southeast Washington." The judge said the three property owners who had sought the injunction failed to show they would be irreparably harmed if the city bought their land, and that they also failed to convince him they would prevail in their lawsuit. This allows the District to continue working to acquire the parcels in the stadium footprint, with the article reiterating that the city plans to submit offers to landowners this month, followed by 30-day negotiation periods with the owners over prices. (The Washington Times has a similar article about the ruling.)

More posts: Nationals Park

Aug 5, 2005 7:55 AM

According to yesterday's Washington Times, officials at the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission still maintain, despite "a growing wave of pessmism among bidding groups seeking to buy the club," that the new baseball stadium will be ready for the 2008 season: " 'There are simply a lot of things out of everybody's direct control right now, whether they be lawsuits and what a judge might do, what ends up happening with the environmental aspect of this, or contracts coming before the council,' " said one anonymous prospective owner. The article also lists some developments: the DCSE commission approved an $11.5 million relocation of Pepco utility lines to help make way for the ballpark; HOK Sport and Devroaux & Purnell, architects on the project, have selected a northeast orientation for the stadium, which will give views of the Capitol dome over the left-field wall; a construction manager to oversee the $607 million ballpark will be selected within three weeks; and DC Office of Property Management will begin making bids on the 33 parcels of land in the stadium footprint later this month. If deals cannot be struck, District officials will begin efforts to seize the land through eminent domain. As the article notes, "But the construction calendar with Major League Baseball calls for a full acquisition and rezoning of the land, as well as an environmental assessment, by Dec. 31 -- just 118 days from now." Tick, tick, tick...!

More posts: Nationals Park

Aug 5, 2005 7:50 AM

The Post reports that Mayor Williams has approved the city entering a private financing deal with Deutsche Bank for the new baseball stadium. "Under tentative terms the city would accept a $246 million payment from the bank in exchange for revenue from stadium concession taxes and an annual rent payment from the Washington Nationals. The payment would help cut taxes on city businesses from $14 million a year to about $8 million a year to help finance construction bonds."

More posts: Nationals Park

Aug 5, 2005 7:37 AM

Yesterday the National Capital Planning Commission took up the issue of the new baseball stadium, voting that the text amendment to the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay "would not adversely affect federal interests" (their normal stamp of approval). According to the Post, among the details decided were: not to allow lights higher than 130 feet; to make sure parking would be inside the stadium and underground; not to require that the outfield walls frame a view of the Capitol dome, and to let the architect of the Capitol and the U.S. Capitol Police have design input in the on security matters and on line-of-sight issues between the ballpark and the dome. (The Post brief seems to indicate that the NCPC's vote has now made the "ballpark zone" official--but there is still a required final approval vote by the DC Zoning Board, which will most likely come at its Sept. 15 public meeting.) If you want to read the entire proposed text amendment, you need to first visit the main DC Register site before this link to the proposed text amendment will work....  UPDATE: A tiny bit more of detail on the text amendment from the Washington Business Journal: requirements that at least 20 percent of the stadium's frontage be for retail or entertainment, that the ballpark be set back at least 15 feet from the street, and that the ballpark scoreboard isn't so bright that it will temporarily blind motorists on South Capitol Street and other nearby roads.  (But, no, this doesn't create a Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay, this amends it.) WBJ also mentions that the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation is close to issuing an official request for information to developers interested in building around the site, a first step in deciding which companies get to partner with the AWC on forming the 14-acre ballpark district.

More posts: Nationals Park, zoning

Aug 2, 2005 10:57 PM

Wednesday's Post reports that apartment developer JPI has contracts for two deals in Near Southeast. Later this month they will close on a two-acre site on the north side of I Street (I believe between 1st and New Jersey, although the article is indicating further west on I), with hopes to begin construction next summer on a 700-unit residential project. Just south of that lot, at First and I, JPI is buying the property that currently houses the Nexus Gold Club (a "gentlemen's club"). Their plans for that block aren't yet firm (because they are still trying to buy some of the neighboring parcels), but more residential space would be a good bet. That transaction won't close until late 2006, to give the Nexus time to find a new location. UPDATE: The article was wrong about the location of the two-acre site, but I was wrong, too--it's at 70 I Street, which is between Half and First streets.

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