Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Waterfront Park is Open!


A little more than a week after Waterfront Park opened to the public at District Wharf, I was able to get a tour with the landscape architect for the project. The park was designed by LAB, with the assistance of a group of 35 Southwest residents (myself included) who were selected by ANC 6D to serve on a committee to design the park through a series of charrette planning sessions. Elinor Bacon from Hoffman-Madison Waterfront convened the charrette planning sessions at the request of ANC 6D, which stipulated in its approval of the stage one PUD application that the park be built in the first phase of development and a public process was needed to help design the park. 

During the charrette process, the design elements most important to the participants were the following: 
  • More Green than Paved 
  • Quiet Areas - Garden Rooms 
  • Gardens 
  • Tree Preservation 
  • Innovative Children's Play Area 
  • Bocce 
  • Views Towards Hains Point and the Washington Channel 
  • Trees - Flowering, Shade, Fall Color 
  • Walking/Strolling Paths 
  • Interactive Water Features 
All of these elements are present in the park in some form or another. It was desired by the community for the park to be more tranquil than other area of District Wharf, since it borders existing residential complexes such as Tiber Island and Harbor Square. While some of the plantings have yet to take root, the fences are down and the park is open for everyone to enjoy. I took plenty of photos while on the tour:

Movable furniture will be added soon.
Dogwoods in bloom.


Tiber Island borders Waterfront Park.
Pergola and 525 Water in background.



Water feature near pergola.
Play mounds on upper portion of park.


Bocce court is still under construction.

Winding paths exists throughout.

Grassy area in upper area of park.

Winding path and river in the distance.

Road made of crushed oyster shells.

Storage shed.

Walls made of MD carderock stone.

Wetlands in lower area of park.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

PUD Extensions Sought for Development Parcels

 
In addition to Forest City’s request for an extension of their PUD at Waterfront Station (and potential change in use from office to residential), PN Hoffman is seeking a two-year extension for the NE parcel next to CVS. Last year, PN Hoffman won the development rights for this parcel from DMPED to build a mixed-use project with ground floor retail, a black box theater, and 443 rental apartments. While extensions have been granted for the site before by DMPED, this is the first request from the developer of the project. PN Hoffman is still working on a disposition agreement with the city and intends to start the PUD process for their proposed project next winter. 


Another extension is being sought for the Randall School project, a long-planned development on I Street. Similar to the Waterfront Station project, this extension is being sought by a new developer. Lowe Enterprises recently came to an agreement with Telesis/Rubell to become the primary developer of the project. While the main elements of the project will remain, including a modern art museum, retail, commercial space, and mixed income apartments, some changes are planned. According to the developer, the two-year extension will allow Lowe Enterprises to make modifications to the plan to make the project work financially. If the extension is granted, a building permit would need to be obtained within two years and another year for construction to commence. Abatement of the historic buildings are expected to start in late 2018, then demolition of the non-historic portion, which would likely put the start of construction in 2020. 


Both of these extensions were presented at the April ANC 6D meeting and were supported by the commissioners. On the Waterfront Station site, the commissioners want PN Hoffman to maintain the brick pavers and activate the site prior to construction. At Randall, Lowe Enterprises has agreed to maintain the derelict property and put up signage touting plans for development.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Pre-Construction Activity for South Capitol Apartment Project


Demolition permits have been filed for several rowhomes along South Capitol and N streets in preparation for the development of a new high-rise multifamily building next to Camden South Capitol apartments. Asbestos abatement is underway at the small rowhomes, which date to the early 1900s. A DC Council hearing was held on March 30 to get approval to temporarily close an alley off of N Street that connects to South Capitol Street during construction. ANC 6D gave its support several months ago. The alley will be the access point to the parking garage of the building, but it serves as an outlet to South Capitol Street for area residents. It will reopen once construction is complete as an easement – the air rights above a portion of the alley will be used to build the apartment project. 


Some of the surrounding homeowners are concerned about the proposed alley closing to construct the building, as well as potential damage to their homes once some of the rowhomes owned by the developer are demolished. A rowhome on N Street and two on South Capitol Street closest to the alley may be demolished to make the alleyway larger. Others may be demolished as well. An older rendering showed six rowhomes remaining on South Capitol Street, but the latest rendering revealed at Monday’s ANC meeting shows only four, starting with the blue South Capitol Smile Center building. 

Older rendering of proposed project. The two rowhomes on the
left would be demolished to create a green space for the project.

The new rental apartment building is planned as a 250-unit project with ground floor retail, designed by PGN Architects. Altus Realty Partners is expected to start construction on the project later this year with completion in 2019.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Shake Shack to Open at District Wharf


A couple weeks after the newest Shake Shack opened to the east of South Capitol Street, another one is headed south of the freeway – this one will be opening at District Wharf. This will make the third Shake Shack to open within ANC 6D. The first opened inside Nationals Park and the other opened late last month on M Street SE. According to a press release, the burger chain’s District Wharf location will be a 3,500 SF restaurant with an interior mezzanine and outdoor waterfront dining. It is scheduled to open this fall. 

In addition to Shake Shack, I’m hearing that Hen Quarter will be opening at District Wharf. Hen Quarter serves Southern cuisine and currently has two locations in Old Town Alexandria and Silver Spring, as well as a third one coming soon to Penn Quarter. I’ve also heard that a lease has been signed for a live music venue called Union Stage that will be approximately 6,000 SF. Union Stage is from the same group that operates Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. Although it’s not known yet how Union Stage will be operated, Jammin' Java is a 200-seat club, bar and cafe that offers daily live music and features Tot Rock during the day, which is a family-oriented music series. Music lessons are also offered. 

Here’s some additional information about previously announced Kirwan’s on the Wharf from Mark Kirwan, which has applied for a tavern license. The Irish pub will be located at 749 Wharf Street and will have 181 seats – a summer garden will have 142 seats. Indoor live entertainment will be offered Thursday through Sunday. According to the license application, the tavern would stay open until 2am during the week and 3am on weekends. Live entertainment would end by 1am as well as use of the summer garden on weekends (midnight during the week). 

Meanwhile, Pearl Street Warehouse is also applying for a tavern license. The tavern will be located on the new Pearl Street (33 Pearl Street) and is proposing a 155-seat venue with a total occupancy load of 300. There will also be live music daily and diner-style food will be served. The proposed closing time during the week would be 2am and 3am on weekends. Live entertainment would end at 2am on weekends and 1am on weeknights. 

District Hardware and Bike wants to operate a café within the bicycle shop that would serve alcohol until 7pm on Sundays and 8pm every other night. The shop would be open from 8am to 8pm on Monday – Saturday (alcohol sales would start at noon) and from 10am to 7pm on Sunday (alcohol sales would start at 11am). The café would have 30 seats with a total occupancy load of 100. 

Stay tuned for more retail announcements over the coming months…

Monday, March 20, 2017

Waterfront Park Preview


On this first day of spring, I thought I’d share a few photos of Waterfront Park, the new park expected to open soon at District Wharf. The park is located south of 525 Water condos along the Washington Channel. Fencing is still up around the park, but you can get a good idea of what it will look like when it is complete. There will be more photos to come once the park is open and trees/flowers are in bloom.

Stairs leading to large pergola
Pergola











Grassy area leads to 525 Water condos
Stonework










Promenade

New Z Dock at Gangplank Marina









Sunday, March 19, 2017

Construction Update at L'Enfant Plaza


Construction has resumed at 500 L’Enfant, an office building along 9th Street at L’Enfant Plaza. The foundation and loading dock was constructed back in 2015, but the project was put on hold until an anchor tenant was found. In January, it was announced that the Urban Institute would lease 121,000 SF of space, covering the first six floors of the 12-story building. Over 400 employees are expected to make the move by March 2019. The building itself will likely be completed in 2018, but then tenant buildout will take several months. 


Elsewhere at L’Enfant Plaza, construction is ongoing at the International Spy Museum on 10th Street. The museum will relocate from Penn Quarter to L’Enfant Plaza in 2018. In addition, renovations have been underway at the future Hilton Washington DC National Mall hotel. The hotel will also reopen in 2018.

Cotton Annex Sold


The auction of the historic Cotton Annex building at 12th and C streets by the GSA was completed last month and it was revealed this week the winning bidder was Douglas Development. Due to some sleuthing by the Washington Business Journal, they figured out a new company called Jemal’s Cotton Annex LLC was filed with the District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Douglas’ bid for the property was $30.3 million. 

During an interview with Bisnow, Douglas Development’s Norman Jemal did not reveal its intended use for the building. From the article: 
"We loved the location," Jemal said. "It's a block away from Metro and Southwest is absolutely going through a renaissance and the tide is rising. We want to be a part of that rising tide. We have some very exciting ideas for it." 
Douglas Development’s other holdings in Southwest include a block of one-story retail buildings on the 1200 block of South Capitol Street and a large office building at 1900 Half Street in Buzzard Point, the latter of which will be redeveloped as a 462-unit rental apartment building with ground floor retail. Elsewhere in the city, the company has specialized in redeveloping historic structures or incorporating them in new development, including commercial buildings near the Verizon Center in Chinatown (now retail and office space), the Hecht warehouse in Ivy City (now apartments), and the Uline Arena in NoMa (now a flagship REI store and offices). 


With its location a block from the Smithsonian Metro and the National Mall, just off an exit ramp from the 12th Street Expressway, and within walking distance of the Portals and District Wharf, there is potential for the redevelopment of the Cotton Annex. What do you think Douglas Development should do with the Cotton Annex building and adjacent land? Vote in the poll on the left sidebar or leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Couple Quick Items: Sale! Sold!


Less than a week after groundbreaking at Audi Field, a development site in Buzzard Point hit the market. Currently home to USA Motors auto shop, the 15,620 SF parcel at 45 Q Street is up for sale, which can yield up to 128,000 SF of new development. The site is located between Nationals Park and Audi Field and has frontage on both Half and Q streets. The block also includes a U-Haul Moving and Storage facility, an auto repair shop and a warehouse – the latter will be demolished to make way for the new traffic oval at the base of the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. To the south of the parcel for sale, a triangular site will become green space as part of the Douglass Bridge project. 


Meanwhile, an empty office building on D Street was sold according to the Washington Business Journal. Above is a photo from April 2015 when it was still under construction. An Atlanta-based firm called Goddard Investment Group purchased the 348,000 SF building at 500 D Street (also known as National Square) for $93 million. The building was constructed in 2015 by Trammell Crow Company and is still awaiting its first tenant.

Friday, March 3, 2017

River Point Plans Fleshed Out


Several months after it was announced that the former Coast Guard headquarters building was purchased and the buyers were planning to re-purpose the building as a mixed-use residential and retail project called River Point, plans have been submitted by the development team to the Zoning Commission for approval under the Capitol Gateway Overlay District. The project is located between the James Creek and Buzzard Point marinas at 2100 2nd Street in Buzzard Point, about two blocks south of Audi Field. 


According to the submission, the monolithic exterior will be broken up with the addition of cut-outs along the V Street, 1st Street and Anacostia riverfront sides of the building. A series of courtyards will be located on the third floor, including seating areas, a yoga deck, fire pit, movie screen, lawn, kitchen and dining room. The rooftop will include a pool and pool terrace. Residential entrances will be on 1st and 2nd streets. There will be a total of 485 rental apartment units with a mix of studio, junior one bedroom, one bedroom, and two bedroom units, both with and without dens (it appears the condominium component has been removed). Due to its location adjacent to the Anacostia River, the ground floor and adjacent streets will be raised above the 100-year flood plain. 


About 70,400 SF of ground floor retail is planned on all sides of the building. Restaurants will generally be located on the riverfront side of the building while neighborhood-serving retail will be located on V Street. Outdoor seating would be accommodated on the riverfront and 1st Street sides of the building. Some of the retail uses that are being targeted include restaurants, café, pharmacy and a grocery store. 


The Anacostia Riverwalk will run along the south side of the building, connecting to Buzzard Point Park to the east and the 2nd Street Cycle Track to the west. A boardwalk, programmable barges, fixed piers, a shell deck, public art, and a floating garden are planned for the area to the south of the riverfront trail. 


The building will aim for LEED-Silver certification and is expected to get underway later this year.

Renderings courtesy of 2100 2nd Street, SW LLC

Audi Field Breaks Ground


While I was out of town, D.C. United decided to hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for Audi Field (the nerve!) at Buzzard Point. Alas, I was unable to get a picture of the ceremonial shovels digging in the ground, but below is a photo from when the District started site work several months ago. You can also check out coverage of the groundbreaking ceremony from several sources: 


The 19,400-seat stadium will open during the 2018 MLS season at 2nd and R streets. While not as contentious as the Washington Nationals baseball stadium deal more than a decade ago, the D.C. United stadium deal had its share of drama, including a land swap proposal, eminent domain, and flirtations with moving the club to Prince George’s County and Baltimore. 

Rendering courtesy of D.C. United