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8 Blog Posts Since 2003

Virginia Avenue Park's Fenced-in Area Now Open
Sep 8, 2010 9:58 AM
Numerous readers have passed along that fences are up and the new dog park fenced-in area appears to be close to opening has opened at the Virginia Avenue Park between 9th and 11th streets, SE, just south of the freeway (and just north of the Spay and Neuter Clinic at 10th and Potomac). I don't have a lot of information about the park, other than it's a project that was launched by the Hill's Capitol Canines group last year (supported by ANC 6B) and has been approved by the DC Parks and Recreation (you can see the application for more details). It's a 10,000-square-foot space, on the eastern side of the park.
If anyone involved in the park is out there and would like to pass along more information, please do, either to me directly or in the comments below. Because, if there's one thing I've found out in the past few years, it's that pretty much every single new resident of the Capitol Riverfront is the proud owner of at least one dog. (I just have a cat who thinks he's a dog.)
UPDATE: Did I say dog park? Why, no, it's not a dog park at all. Just a section of a park with fences put up, that certain residents and users may choose to utilize as a location for corraling four-legged beasts away from other uses in the rest of the park.
Comments (1)
More posts: Dog Parks, Virginia Ave Park

Yards Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Photos
Sep 7, 2010 2:55 PM
The weather gods smiled on the Southeast Waterfront today, with an absolutely picture-perfect day for inviting scads of dignitaries down to the Yards Park to make some speeches and cut a ribbon. Here's my quick photo gallery of the event, with photos not only of politicians wielding scissors but also plenty of shots of the park itself. I will soon update my Yards Park page with real before-and-afters, but that will take some time.
The 5.5-acre park, a $42 million partnership between the city, the feds (who owned the land until this morning), and the BID (which will be responsible for the upkeep and programming), is very simply like nothing else anywhere in DC. It not only has the pedestrian bridge and the light tower and the water features to gawk at, but it has so many different spaces for strolling, sitting, hanging out, playing, or just staring at the river, with its views all the way down to the Potomac River and further to Alexandria. There were many references during the remarks to Chicago's Millenium Park, and all involved with the creation of the Yards Park clearly see its potential as a "destination" attraction. The BID will be working hard to provide a lot of activities to draw people in, and down the road (if the reality ends up matching the vision), when the Lumber Shed becomes a retail-and-restaurant spot with river views, and the Foundry Lofts and Boilermaker Shops just to the north of the park open and become attractions in their own right, this could be quite a jewel in the city's crown.
Add to that the eventual building of a floating boardwalk that will connect the Yards Park to Diamond Teague Park by the baseball stadium, making it an easy stroll along the river to go back and forth between the two venues, and you can start to imagine the fans streaming out of the ballpark on Friday nights to watch the post-game fireworks firing off above the Anacostia River from the Great Lawn or the boardwalk. (I'm told that the boardwalk is in the design stages, though there's no timeline for when it might be built.)
As for the area east of the park, I'm hearing that there is "progress" in working with the Navy Yard to open its boardwalk (that leads to the Display Ship Barry and 11th Street), but again, no timeline on that.
There was a lot of media present today (especially since both Mayor Fenty and Vince Gray were in attendance), so I'll update this post with whatever stories appear. UPDATE: Here's the press release from the mayor's office. Also there's ABC7's report, which also is about today's other Anacostia River event, where council members (but not Mayor Fenty) showed up to sign a pledge to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up six designated toxic sites along the Anacostia, which include in Near Southeast the Navy Yard, the Yards/Southeast Federal Center, the Washington Gas site east of 11th (more on that from Fox 5, including that the Anacostia Riverkeeper and Anacostia Watershed Society groups are concerned that monies from the city's tax on plastic bags are so far not being directed toward cleaning up the river).
Also, it sounds like the fences at the park will be closed again for the next few days while they get some finishing touches done (the eastern end of the park is still being worked on), but it will then have its Grand Opening Weekend starting Friday at 3:30 pm. And then I can get some nighttime photos, because apparently the park's lighting is something to be seen.
(I've also gotten--and forwarded along--some e-mails from residents grousing about what they see as the less-than-adequate size of the dog park on the park's western edge; I've asked Forest City for more information about the current and future plans for the dog park, and will post about it when I hear back.)
Comments (14)
More posts: Dog Parks, The Yards, Yards Park

Yards Park Construction Progress Photos
May 25, 2010 7:34 PM
It was a beautiful afternoon for a walk along the Anacostia River, and I was lucky enough to take my stroll within the boundaries of the forthcoming Park at the Yards. The 5.8-acre park is scheduled for a "late summer" opening, and it's definitely taking shape, as you can see in my new Park Construction Photo Gallery. (And thanks also to Mother Nature for the fab backdrop; compare the shots from my visit in March to see why I tend to avoid cloudy days if at all possible.) The park, for those not keeping up, is being built by Forest City as part of The Yards, but is being funded by the city through PILOT monies and then will be turned over to the Capitol Riverfront BID for maintenance and "programming" once it's completed. It's that public money that has allowed the park's construction to go forward during a time when private funding is pretty hard to come by.
The biggest news is that the 60-foot light tower on the water's edge at the foot of Third Street, which was originally not going to be installed until the park's second phase, is now going to arrive (by barge!) in July and be in place when the park is unveiled.
And, while the no-longer-salmon-tin-sided Lumber Storage Shed will be merely an open skeleton when the park opens, it sounds like maybe the possibilities of tenants are close enough that the Shed could be transformed into its glass-skinned retail pavilion new self sooner than might have been anticipated during the park's design phase.
(There also seems to be similar optimism about both the nearby Foundry Lofts and Boilermaker Shops projects getting on track. Forest City continues to work with HUD to get the financing squared away for the Lofts, and the Boilermaker Shops could get underway before the end of the year.)
Also in evidence in the Photo Gallery is the (ZOMG!!) dog park. which will be a fenced-in area on the far western edge of the park along the boundary with the 1905 WASA building.
So, wander through and read the captions for greater detail, and compare the photos to the park rendering at the top of the page to orient yourself and to understand what different sections will look like when completed.

Recent Tidbits (Cap Quarter Sold Out, Akridge in 2011, Va. Ave. Dog Park?, Photos of 11th Street Bridge Work)
Apr 9, 2010 9:59 AM
With the opening of the 2010 season at the ballpark and lots of other interesting news of late, my blogging time and focus has been geared toward these bigger items. But there's a fair amount of little stuff that I point to every day on my Twitter feed (also available on Facebook), mainly news stories that might be of interest but that aren't really important or newsy enough to devote much more than 140 characters to. I may eventually transition to leaving those completely to Twitter, but I still feel guilty enough for now to round them up here on the blog every so often. But if you're wanting all news items at warp speed, best to start reading the Tweets.
* EYA has passed the news to me that all Capitol Quarter Phase I townhouse units are now sold. They are gearing up to begin sales of the Phase II houses, which will start "soon." (Though I wouldn't take your tent down to their sales office just yet.) I imagine they will do the releases of these next houses in groups based on location, as they did with phase I. It's still expected that the entire townhouse development will be built out by the end of 2012.
* Last weekend Bisnow took a walk around the neighborhood with a camera (a novel idea!), and gave their readers an update on some of the projects. The only section that I've not seen reported before is Akridge now saying that construction for their 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use Half Street project is now pegged at "hopefully before next baseball season," likely meaning 2011. But, "once shovels hit the dirt, the one residential and two office buildings will likely go up at once," Bisnow quotes an Akridge rep as saying. It also says that Forest City is "hoping" to get started on the Boilermaker Shops retail renovation at the Yards before the end of this year. (Lots of "hoping" going on!) There's even a picture of the Pillsbury Doughboy that gazes out over the neighborhood from Capitol Hill Tower.
* Voice of the Hill says there's a possibility of a temporary dog park being installed at the Virginia Avenue Park (Ninth and Potomac, SE), at least until CSX starts on its tunnel construction project (more on CSX coming in another post later today). This is coming to the forefront because the principal of Tyler Elementary has now banned dogs from the school's playing field.
* Some neat overhead photos from DDOT showing the progress on the 11th Street Bridges construction. I'm hoping to get some ground-level images myself before too much longer.
* CNN reports on how Nationals Park has become a very hot venue for political fundraising, actively pursued and encouraged by the team. "[F]ederal candidates, major political parties, and political action committees have spent at least $432,000 on fundraising events either at Nationals games or at their facility, according to campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission."

Waterfront Park at the Yards to Have a Dog Park
Mar 29, 2010 11:04 AM
Here's a Monday morning item that I imagine will be of interest (judging from recent comment threads). On a tip from reader C, I can pass along that the Park at the Yards, scheduled to open this summer, will have a dog park on its western edge, near the WASA building. I don't have an iota of details beyond that (hope to within a week or so), and it doesn't appear on the renderings of the park (it would be at the far left of the images, next to the "Great Lawn"), but Forest City has confirmed that it will be there.
In other Yards news, following up on the item in Saturday's Post about the Foundry Lofts, Forest City has qualified that they are *hoping* to restart the project in April, but it's contingent on when they close on funding with HUD.
Comments (11)
More posts: Dog Parks, The Yards, Yards Park

Group Working on Dog Park at Virginia Ave. Park
Sep 10, 2009 1:41 PM
There's a move afoot to create a dog park in a portion of Virginia Avenue Park, the little-known greenspace nestled between Ninth and 11th streets, SE, just south (and under!) the SE Freeway. (I'm as guilty as anyone for not swinging by there more often--I only have a few paltry photos posted, and hardly any recent ones.) "Capitol Canines" is proposing to use space on the 11th Street side of the park, and at Tuesday's ANC6B meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to support the proposal.
This idea is still very much in its early stages, and the group will be needing to raise money to get the improvements built. (Virginia Avenue Park itself is run and maintained by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, although property records say the land is owned by the feds.) Here's an early rendering of the vision for the park, with the dog park at right; at left is a new playground that a private developer/individual is interested in creating, and the existing community garden is at the bottom, along L Street. The three groups will need to coordinate together as the project moves forward.
If you're interested in being part of the project or in getting more information, you can join the Google Group they've set up; the petition they're circulating for support is also available online.
Comments (9)
More posts: ANC News, Dog Parks, 8th Street, Virginia Ave Park

The Stakes and Spray Paint at Canal Park
Jul 29, 2009 4:03 PM
A number of readers have written in over the past few days asking about some new stakes in the ground and spray paint that appeared on the Canal Park site recently, asking if this meant that construction was coming soon. I checked in with the park's overlord, Chris Vanarsdale, and this is his explanation: "The stakes and paint on the lots reflect major design features as reflected in the current schematic design documents. Staking out the site was a design exercise in order to get a better sense of proportion and relationship of the features on the site before we make any final decisions -- the design may be modified somewhat as a result. We may stake it out again after the next iteration." If you want to see the early look and feel of the (new) preliminary design, check the official web site at CanalParkDC.org.
Also, Chris mentioned some other changes folks will soon see on the site: "We will be taking down the orange fence on the south block and putting up "no dogs permitted" signs there in order to protect the sod. We will soon open the north block to dogs and place signs and plastic bags for dog waste -- we want to give the grass a little more time to establish before doing so. Folks should keep in mind that leashes will be required."
Comments (5)
More posts: Canal Park, Dog Parks

New Web Site for JPI's Capitol Yards
Dec 1, 2007 1:27 PM
With a hat tip to a tipster who shall remain nameless, I'm passing along CapitolYardsDC.com, the new splashy web site launched by JPI to market its four Near Southeast apartment buildings along I Street, which will total 1,350 rental units and which together are being called "Capitol Yards."
The two buildings I always cover together as 70 and 100 I Street have been dubbed Jefferson and Mercury at Capitol Yards, and although they're right next to each other they will have distinctly different looks-and-feels. The Jefferson will have more of a "warehouse" feel, with "exposed brick and hardwood floors" for a "spacious loft-style atmosphere", while the Mercury next door will be going for "up-to-the-minute finishes."
Across the street, 909 New Jersey is now known as 909 at Capitol Yards, and its page touts a "two-story lounge with a modern bar, plasma TVs and a 90-inch projection TV" as well as an Asian-themed spa and a rooftop deck with "lounging and grilling areas." This building will also have restaurant and retail tenants on the first floor (which might also prove to be a handy stop for Nationals fans walking along New Jersey going to or from the Capitol South Metro station).
The pages for each of these projects also include animated views of the building's exteriors.
There's also a page for what's now 23 Eye at Capitol Yards (though I haven't decided yet if I'm going to always indulge that whole "Eye" thing), which has the first rendering I've seen of the building that will eventually go up west of Half Street (where the Wendy's and a towing company currently reside). Its page touts not only a rooftop pool, but also a rooftop dog park, which one would like to assume will be outfitted with very high fences. The 421 units are being described as "two-story true loft homes with 18-foot windows"; the site also says that the building will be Washington's first LEED silver-certified residential building.
You can wander through my project pages for each of these buildings to see where they're at (and what their lots looked like before). The furthest along are 70 and 100 I, scheduled to open in the summer, and are now topped out and getting their brick facades. The hole has been dug for 909 New Jersey, and it is supposed to open in mid-2009. Nothing has changed yet at the 23 I site, but construction is expected to start in 2008.
More posts: 23 I, 70/100 I, 909 New Jersey, Dog Parks, jpi, Square 697n



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