Thursday, June 14, 2018

T-Minus 30 Days...

One month from today, D.C. United will host its inaugural match at Audi Field in Buzzard Point, against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Construction in and around the stadium is starting to reach the homestretch (wrong sports analogy) with the pitch now installed, concession areas starting to come into shape, and infrastructure around Audi Field resembling streets in other parts of the city with bike lanes and functional traffic lights along Half Street. Below are some more pictures of the stadium exterior. 

Intersection of R and 2nd streets
View east on R Street

Team store on R Street
2nd Street facade and cycle track
South side of Audi Field on T Street

Meanwhile, DDOT has announced special game-day service to Audi Field, although due to road closures anticipated on opening day, this service won’t be available on July 14. In addition to changing the Navy Yard-Union Station route on a daily basis to L’Enfant Plaza-Eastern Market via M Street starting on June 24, game-day service will bring the Circulator south off of M Street to Half Street with a stop at Half & O streets, then turning left onto Potomac Avenue with a second stop at Potomac Avenue & Half Street serving Audi Field, then across South Capitol Street and left onto 1st Street, SE before turning back onto M Street SE. The route will take this detour east- and west-bound. 

In addition, a new Capital Bikeshare station will be installed in the vicinity of the stadium, although its exact location has not been finalized yet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Permits Filed for Douglass Bridge-Related Demolition

Demolition permit applications have been filed for several buildings along the 1500 and 1600 blocks of South Capitol Street that will be removed to make way for the new Pepco-sponsored traffic oval leading to the replacement Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. The buildings include a repair shop and vacant structures. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new bridge back in February, which will be built about 100 feet west of the existing one. The four-year project will result in a new, six-lane arched span with bike and pedestrian lanes as well as two traffic ovals on either side of the bridge.  While the existing bridge will remain open during construction, expect periodic lane closures on South Capitol Street.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Second Stage PUD Filed for Waterfront Station NE Parcel

A few months after PN Hoffman made a presentation at a monthly ANC meeting about their plans for their Waterfront Station parcel located north of CVS at 1000 4th Street, they have filed a second stage PUD application. The number of units have changed to 456 total units, with 30% of the total set aside as affordable housing for 30% and 50% of Area Median Income (AMI). For the first 50 years of the ground lease that PN Hoffman will have with the city, the affordable units will be split 50-50 between the 30% and 50% AMI levels. After the first 50 years, the split will change to 25-75 in favor of units at 50% of AMI. There will be 214 garage spaces, 161 long-term bike parking spaces, and 14 bike racks. Parking and loading will be off Wesley Place.  

While the amount of retail planned at the development remains at 29,182 SF, the planned cultural use will change. Last week, it was announced on DC Theatre Scene that the Forum Theater closed suddenly – this was the Silver Spring-based theater company that was expected to come to Waterfront Station. PN Hoffman is apparently in negotiations with the Washington Improv Theater to move from 14th Street NW near U Street to Southwest. Rounding out the retail will be space for two restaurants along 4th Street (a diner has been identified previously as the intended tenant) and space for AppleTree to operate a pre-K school along the private drive to be located on the north end of the development, near the SW Branch library. A 3,000-SF play area will be built for AppleTree use on the northeast corner of the site during school hours and general community use at certain times outside of school hours. At one time, AppleTree would be relocated from its temporary trailers at Jefferson Academy to the Wharf, but apparently PN Hoffman has found another place for them. Although there is a playground nearby at 3rd and I streets, the two play areas will target different age groups. 

According to the PUD application, construction is expected to begin on 1000 4th Street in Q1 2020 and deliver in Q3 2022. 

Speaking of PN Hoffman developments, the Washington Business Journal reports that The Banks apartment project under construction at 7th and I streets will have The Goddard School, a private preschool and daycare as its retail tenant in a 7,700 SF space.  The Banks is scheduled to open by this fall.

Renderings courtesy of Torti Gallas Urban

Monday, June 11, 2018

Potential Greenleaf "Build-First" Site to Receive Budget Funding

Back in February, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen attended the monthly ANC 6D meeting and one of the topics brought up was the redevelopment of Greenleaf. Allen stated his preferred “build-first” site to be the DCFEMS Apparatus Division station at Half and M streets. Under a "build-first" model, the first phase of construction would be at a site outside of the Greenleaf footprint and residents would move into this new building before demolishing any portion of the existing Greenleaf buildings so no one is displaced during the redevelopment. During the planning phase of Greenleaf’s eventual redevelopment, a study by HR&A Advisors stated that DC-owned sites near Greenleaf would be easiest to use as “build-first” sites, with the DCFEMS repair shop and MPD First District parking lot at Delaware Avenue and M Street identified as the best sites to use for this purpose. 

To move the process along, Allen, as chair of the D.C. Council’s Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety, allocated $1 million in the District’s FY 2019 budget to start the schematic design and design development phases to build a replacement DCFEMS Apparatus Division facility (also in the DCFEMS budget for Southwest is a new Harbor Patrol facility at the Wharf, with funding allocated in FY 2023 and FY 2024). While this funding will start the process for designing the new maintenance facility, a site has not been identified yet. The Council committee recommends that DCFEMS "move swiftly to identify a site for the new Fleet Maintenance Facility." Under Mayor Bowser’s FY 2019 budget proposal, $47 million in funding for the replacement facility was pushed back to FY 2024, which was previously allocated in FY 2022 and FY 2023. The delay puts in jeopardy the use of the Half and M streets site as a “build-first” site for Greenleaf. 

A RFQ for the Greenleaf redevelopment was issued in December 2017 and a RFP was supposed to be released in March, with a selection to be made this month, but the RFP has been delayed. The ANC sent a letter to DCHA earlier this year requesting a meeting with Greenleaf residents should be held prior to the issuance of the RFP to keep the community in the loop regarding the agency’s process to redevelop the public housing complex.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

New Buzzard Point Venue to Debut for World Cup

After getting a test run in April as the venue for the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Wine and Beer festival, a portion of the Akridge-owned parking lot located south of Audi Field at 1901 1st Street will become Field House DC (h/t JD Land), a 42,000 SF venue where D.C. United fans will be able to gather prior to matches similar to the Bullpen near Nationals Park (also on a lot owned by Akridge). Field House DC will start things off on June 14, a month before the inaugural match at Audi Field, with showing all World Cup matches on a 22’ LED video wall. According to the venue’s website, “its massive bar will feature beer specialties hailing from the countries playing each day, plus there will be food trucks & soccer-themed games.” JD reports that there will also be a wine bar, a faux Astroturf seating area, picnic tables, and shaded areas, among other things. 

One difference between the Bullpen and Field House DC is there is a parking lot next to Field House DC, so it will be easier for fans to drive to this venue.  However, for those who will arrive on foot via Metro, they will have to pass Audi Field before reaching Field House DC, unlike the Bullpen which is directly across the street from the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro entrance on Half Street. Field House DC is located on a portion of Akridge's seven-acre 100 V development site, which can eventually accommodate up to 2.4 million SF of mixed-use buildings. As a result, Field House DC will be a temporary venue as the Bullpen (and previously the Fairgrounds) is until redevelopment occurs, although given how long it took for new development to take place on Half Street near the ballpark, Field House DC has the potential to stick around for several seasons...that is, unless Amazon selects the Anacostia Riverfront as its HQ2 campus...

Above photo was from the Cherry Blossom event in April, not how Field House DC will be set up.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Upcoming Events

Now that monsoon season has apparently ended, SWBID and SWNA will be hosting Southwest Duck Drop this Sunday at the SW Duck Pond, located at 6th and I streets from 1 – 4pm, which was rescheduled from May due to rain. The event is the celebration of the refilling of the SW Duck Pond and is the second year the BID has hosted. There will be ice cream, BBQ, a local Blues band, games, dance demonstrations, and it is free! 

During the weekend of June 16 and June 17, Events DC will host DC JazzFest at the Wharf, with free performances at District Pier, Transit Pier and Hyatt House, along with a ticketed concert at The Anthem. The schedule of events can be found here

The 13th Annual Capital Fringe Festival will be held at venues across Southwest from July 7 through July 29, including Arena Stage, St. Augustine’s Church, Christ United Church, Westminster Church, and Blind Whino. Tickets go on sale on June 18. More details will be posted here when available. 

The DC State Fair will make its return to Southwest this fall when the annual event will be held on Sunday, September 23 at Waterfront Station, located at 4th and M streets. Last year, the fair was also held in Southwest – the DC State Fair has been held in previous years in Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, Shaw, and NoMa. The Southwest BID was instrumental in bringing the fair back to Southwest. According to a press release, contest entries so far include Best Bud, Honey, Wine, and Fiber Arts categories. New categories include Best Salsa, Best Biscuit, and Best Cookie. Other events include the Pet Parade, live music, food and craft vendors, and demonstrations.

Pride on the Pier Tomorrow, Wharf Retail News

District Wharf will be celebrating Capital Pride on Saturday with its inaugural Pride on the Pier event from 12-3pm. The event will take place at District Pier, which will feature a Waterfront Beer & Wine Garden and a live DJ. Entrance to the event is free, but any food or beverages will need to be purchased. VIP tickets, which provided access to the Dockmaster Building and complimentary food and drink, have been sold out. 

Wharf Retail News: 
  • Over Memorial Day weekend, SW Soda Pop Shop opened in one of the new buildings near the Municipal Fish Market. 
  • Other retailers planning to open this summer near the Municipal Fish Market include Blue Bottle Coffee, Nick Stefanelli's Officina, Rappahannock Oyster Company, District Doughnut, and Potomac Distilling Company.
  • Earlier in May, Med Lahlou’s Lupo Marino Italian restaurant made its debut on Pearl Street. 
  • Southeast Asian restaurant Kaliwa also opened in the spring at 751 Wharf Street. 
  • Toastique is a gourmet toast and juice bar that will be opening at 764 Maine Avenue this summer. 
  • Falafel Inc. will open an outpost at of the kiosks near the Transit Pier this summer according to the Washington City Paper.
  • French restaurant La Vie has yet to open on Wharf Street and Belgian restaurant Florentijn no longer appears on the list of restaurants “coming soon” to the Wharf, since a legal battle has Hoffman-Madison Waterfront shopping the corner space at Maine Avenue and Pearl Street to other prospective tenants per Eater
  • In addition, Eater reports that Surfside is close to a deal to open a 24-hour taco stand next spring across from the Municipal Fish Market. The planned Wharf location will be similar to the setup of the Dupont Circle location. 
  • Patrick’s Fine Linens & Home D├ęcor will be arriving on Wharf Street near Mi Vida this November.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Unity Clinic Demolition Underway

Demolition is progressing at the former Southwest Health Center site at 850 Delaware Avenue. The Unity Health Care clinic closed there back in September 2017 and was relocated to 555 L Street SE in Navy Yard/Near SE/Capitol Riverfront in early 2018. Once demolition is complete, construction will begin on the Ward 6 Short-Term Family Housing project, which will bring a 50-unit facility for homeless families to the site with a maximum occupancy of 166 people. The shelter will be a seven-story building and is designed by Studio 24 Architecture. Amenities will include space for on-site wrap around services, dining room, computer lab, laundry facilities, common rooms, and play areas. A health care facility is also planned in the building, which will occupy a portion of the first floor and basement. The entrance to the clinic will be on I Street while the shelter entrance will be on Delaware Avenue. The planned health care facility may or may not be run by Unity. 

Rendering courtesy of Studio 24 Architecture

Friday, May 4, 2018

More Apartments and Community Center Planned at Waterfront Station

(This post is a portion of an article that appears in the May 2018 Hill Rag)

Waterfront Station and before it the Waterside Mall has served as the Town Center for the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood for decades. It contains the neighborhood’s only grocery store, as well as a pharmacy, restaurants, and professional services, including a dentist office. Two office buildings fully occupied by District government agencies and three rental apartment buildings are currently in place and a future phase with more rental apartments, retail, daycare center, and a black box theater is planned on the northeast parcel. Two other parcels have yet to be developed, which flank 4th Street and are located adjacent to the Waterfront Metro station entrance. 

The original stage one Planned Unit Development (PUD) approval for these two sites at 4th and M streets was for office, but developer Forest City has requested a change to residential. Its reason for the change in use is due to unfavorable conditions in the office market. The state of the office market has changed significantly since the Waterfront Station development was originally conceived in the aughts. Previously, the development was intended to be primarily office, with less retail and minimal residential. Prior to the Great Recession, Fannie Mae was going to move its headquarters to Waterfront Station, but they pulled out in the wake of financial troubles at the quasi-government agency. Over time, the plan for Waterfront Station has evolved in favor of more residential and retail and less office. 

Rendering of planned 375 M Street building

In its current proposal, Forest City plans to develop a 285-unit rental apartment building on the east parcel (375 M Street) with 18,830 square feet of ground floor retail along M Street and the Metro plaza, 32,400 square feet of commercial space intended for professional services tenants on the second floor, and a 6,000 square-foot community center on the first and second floors. This would be the third community center located in Southwest, joining the Randall Recreation Center and King-Greenleaf Recreation Center, but it would be the only one without adjacent recreation fields. The community center was proffered by the developer to win approval from ANC 6D, which was originally lukewarm to the idea of changing uses at the two remaining parcels at Waterfront Station from office to residential. As a part of the PUD, the developer has offered the community center rent-free for a period of 30 years and will contribute up to $565,000 for interior design and fit-out, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and initial start-up costs. 

Rendering of planned 425 M Street building

On the west parcel (425 M Street), the plan is to develop a 310-unit rental apartment building with 21,203 square feet of ground floor retail along 4th and M streets. The main residential entrance will be located at the northeast corner of the building. In both buildings, 8% of the floor area will be reserved for residents earning up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) and of that total, five units will be 3BR apartments. Under this proposal, the east parcel will be developed first, allowing for the west parcel to remain open space until the completion of the 325 M Street building. Part of the west parcel will house a trailer that will be the interim Southwest Branch library while a new library is built in its current location at 900 Wesley Place. 

For its part, the ANC has offered conditional support for the PUD. Portions of the PUD that the ANC supports include the community center, as well as the redesign of the project which provides less density and more setbacks than the original office design, a retail strategy, and traffic plan. However, one of the concerns brought by Commissioner Roger Moffatt, whose single-member district includes the 375 M Street site, was the ability for mom and pop retailers to occupy smaller spaces at the proposed development. It has proven to be difficult to get smaller retailers into the previous phases of the development since the buildings would not allow a tenant who needed less than 1,200 square feet to occupy space. While the U.S. Postal Service is not a “mom and pop” retailer, it was used as an example of a tenant that was unable to relocate to Waterfront Station because its need for a 900 square-foot space could not be accommodated. Other outstanding issues brought by ANC Vice Chair Andy Litsky include the selection of the community center operator and clarification on the “free rent” provision to include HVAC and electricity; improvements to public space at the Metro plaza; a traffic plan for the 4th and M streets intersection; placement of the Metrobus and Circulator bus stop along M Street; and other logistical concerns. 

The Zoning Commission will continue the hearing on May 10th and a final decision on the proposed development is expected in the coming months.

Renderings courtesy of Forest City

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Former Engine 13 Demolished

The former DC FEMS Engine 13 building at 6th and E streets has been demolished to make way for a mixed-use development by E Street Development (h/t to reader Ben). A raze permit was filed back in November for the building. E Street Development is planning a 253-key citizenM hotel on the site, as well as a 194-unit mixed-income rental apartment building, and 10,750 SF of ground floor retail. The residential portion of the project will include 58 affordable units (ranging from 30% to 50% of Area Median Income) for seniors ages 62 and older and 136 market-rate units for all ages. E Street Development won the rights several years ago to develop this parcel, along with a vacant site cattycorner to it on 4th and E streets, which became a Hyatt Place hotel with a new Engine 13 firehouse on the ground floor in 2015. 

The block where the former Engine 13 building was located also was where MPD’s First District headquarters used to be, which was on the northwest corner of 4th and E streets before it was relocated to the former Bowen Elementary School building along M Street in 2009 and the city’s Consolidated Forensic Lab was built in its place. 

Rendering courtesy of E Street Development