Tuesday, June 30, 2015

525 Water "Tops Off"

After less than a year of construction, 525 Water condos has “topped off” according to a press release, which means the building has reached its maximum height. The five-story building will contain 108 condos and is adjacent to the new St. Augustine’s Church, where a groundbreaking ceremony was held last month. 525 Water is also adjacent to the new 3.5-acre Waterfront Park. The above photo was taken in early June when the building was only at three stories. 

PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette are partners on this development, which will be the first residential building to deliver at The Wharf. Delivery is scheduled for next summer and condo sales are slated to begin this fall. Prices will begin in the $400s for studios with the largest three bedroom units selling for over $1 million. 525 Water will be joined by VIO, which is the second condo building planned during phase one of development. Sales at VIO will begin this summer. 

Also in Wharf news, a tower crane is now visible for the planned Intercontinental Hotel – signage on the crane is illuminated at night. The WBJ reports that three additional tower cranes have been recently approved for the site, which is now a huge hole in the ground.

Monday, June 29, 2015

SEU Campus Demolition Underway; Community Meeting Tomorrow

Demolition began last week at the former Southeastern University campus building, located at 501 I Street. It will take approximately five weeks to demolish the structure, which has been vacant for several years. The Shakespeare Theater Company purchased the building last year from the Graduate School USA and has partnered with developer Erkiletian to build a mixed-use project with space for theater operations and apartments above. There will be a presentation tomorrow evening at Westminster Church (400 I Street) starting at 7pm where the development plan will be shared with the community. 

Demolition in the background & Amidon-Bowen roof replacement in foreground.

Photos courtesy of reader JP

Thursday, June 11, 2015

National Mall Circulator Route to Restart

A new National Mall Circulator route makes its debut on Sunday, which will connect Union Station to the National Mall and Tidal Basin. Click on the map above to see where the stops will be located. A ceremonial ribbon cutting will be held tomorrow at 11am at the Lincoln Memorial with dignitaries including Mayor Bowser and DC Delegate Holmes Norton. Now the question is, when will the Convention Center-Buzzard Point Circulator route that was funded in the DC United stadium deal restart? Also, when will the Union Station-Navy Yard route extension to Waterfront Station occur?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Randall Playground Open

The playground at Randall is now open for use while the newly planted grass still needs time to grow. It’s been several years in the making, although the improvements are a scaled back version of the original plans due to cost overruns. For instance, the skate and splash parks have been replaced with grass. Below are some additional photos of the new plaza and playground.

The next phase of improvements includes a new turf baseball and soccer field that will be built under a partnership with DPR, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, and Under Armour. The new turf fields should be complete by November.

SEU Demo to Begin June 22

Fencing is up and raze permits have been approved for the demolition of the former Southeastern University campus at 501 I Street. Demolition will begin later this month after school is out for the summer at neighboring Amidon-Bowen Elementary. The demolition process will last five weeks, starting on the north side of the site for the first week and moving to the west side during weeks two and three. Then demolition will shift to the east side for the last two weeks. Work hours will be from 7am to 5pm Monday through Friday. 

All of the debris from demolition will be sorted on site, placed in containers and then hauled to recycling centers. In addition, all of the hardscape and landscape materials will be removed from the site, but Erkiletian has offered to provide the materials to members of the community or for use on other public sites, such as the Southwest Duck Pond or the SW Community Garden. For those who are interested, contact Paul Kokosinski at Erkiletian if you would like any of the landscape materials on site.

The Shakespeare Theater Company is partnering with Erkiletian at 501 I Street to build a nine-story building with approximately 155 residential units (a portion of the units will be set aside for actors, interns and affordable housing under Inclusionary Zoning), as well as rehearsal space, a black-box theater, a costume and set equipment fabrication shop, and the administrative headquarters for the Company. Most of STC’s operations will be located below-grade. Once demolition is complete, the site will be leveled off and remain fenced off until excavation begins, which won’t happen for 12 to 14 months since the developer still needs to go through the PUD process.

Monday, June 8, 2015

DC United Stadium Deal Finalized

It was announced today that the District and DC United have finalized an agreement to build a new soccer stadium at 2nd and R streets on Buzzard Point. According to the press release: 
The signed agreements include improved deal terms which will result in better financial protections for District of Columbia residents, clarify the size and timeline of the stadium, and strengthen community engagement. 
There were some reports in the media last week that the team was considering moving to Loudoun County at the last minute, but the city and team have come to terms on an agreement which keeps the team in DC. The deal calls for the District to finish acquiring the land needed for the stadium footprint by September 30. At that time, road closures around the stadium site will commence and demolition will begin by October. Akridge still owns a portion of the land needed for the stadium and the city will need to use eminent domain if the two parties cannot come to an agreement on price.

The 20-25,000-seat stadium is scheduled to be completed by the 2018 season. A formal press conference is scheduled tomorrow morning at 11am, after which the DC Council will take up legislation for the road closures (see below).

Rendering courtesy of DC United

Friday, May 29, 2015

Amidon Sidewalk Park Forum Tomorrow

A community forum will be held tomorrow at Capitol Park Tower (301 G Street) from 10 am to 12 pm to discuss plans for the restoration of Amidon Sidewalk Park, a neglected strip of sidewalk and benches along 4th and G streets that frame Amidon Field.

Untreated park bench on G Street.
Restored park bench on G Street.

The Waterfront Gateway Neighborhood Association has spearheaded the effort to restore Amidon Sidewalk Park. In recent months, work has been done to determine whether the wood benches along the park can be restored. One of the benches was used as a test case and as you can see from the photos above, restoration is possible (at least for benches that are still intact). A design concept has also been commissioned. $100,000 has been set aside in the District's 2016 budget for the park and private-sector dollars may also be raised.

At tomorrow's forum, members of the community will get a chance to vote on which components they would like in the park. Some of the ideas that have been discussed include:

- Bocce ball court
- Capital Bikeshare station
- Fitness course
- Flower planters
- Game tables
- Miniature golf
- Picnic tables  
- Rain garden

Come to Capitol Park Tower tomorrow from 10 am to 12 pm and help shape your community!

Rendering courtesy of Waterfront Gateway Neighborhood Association

St. Augustine's Groundbreaking is Tomorrow

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church will held at the construction site, located at 600 M Street, tomorrow at 11 am and is open to the public. The MTFA Architecture-designed church will replace the former building which was demolished starting in October 2014. Construction of the adjacent condo building by PN Hoffman began in late 2014 and is moving along quickly. At the new St. Augustine’s Church on Parcel 11 of The Wharf, there will be views of the church from M Street and Maine Avenue since it will be located at a prominent corner. There will be a soft curved edge in front of St. Augustine's to complement the curvature of Arena Stage across the street. The two-story church will be approximately 15,000 square feet with the sanctuary located on the second floor offering views toward the Washington Monument. Also on the second floor will be classrooms and a library. On the ground floor, the entrance will lead to a vestibule that connects to classrooms and an all-purpose room, which will be available for community events, similar to how the former St. Augustine's building was used for meetings. The new church building is expected to open in 2016. 

Rendering courtesy of MTFA Architecture

Inaugural Market SW is Tonight!

This evening is the inaugural Market SW night market at Waterfront Station, located at 4th and M streets. Market SW will be from 4 to 9 pm on the vacant lot in front of Station 4 and Z-Burger. A variety of activities will be available at Market SW, including: 
  • Nearly 30 vendors 
  • Live painting by Art Whino 
  • Asian-inspired food trucks 
  • Live music 
  • Beer garden 
  • Live Capoeira Angola (Afro-Brazilian martial arts) 
  • Community organizations/businesses 
A full list can be found here

The market will occur every last Friday of the month through October and is a production of Diverse Markets Management, with the support of Waterfront Station and the SWBID. Unfortunately I'm out of town this weekend, so if anyone attends the market and takes pictures, please pass them along to me. Thanks!

Tomorrow, Aya Community Markets will be set up for their weekly farmer's market from 10 am to 2 pm at the same location as Market SW. Aya moved this year from in front of Christ United Methodist Church to the Waterfront Station site.   

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

MOTB Construction Permit Issued

A building permit was recently issued for construction of the Museum of the Bible, located at 4th and D streets at the former Washington Design Center. There was a demolition ceremony for the project back in February and since then a 1980s addition has been demolished. It will be replaced with a new structure made of thin brick made to look like stacks of manuscripts. The 430,000 square-foot Museum of the Bible, which is scheduled to open in 2017, will include three exhibit floors that will tell the impact, narrative, and history of the Bible. A construction webcam has been set up looking towards the Virginia Avenue side of the site. 

Construction photo from early May.

Rendering courtesy of SmithGroupJJR