Thursday, May 5, 2016

Pool Schedule Released

DPR has announced pool and spray park opening dates and operating hours for the summer season. In Southwest, Randall Pool and East Potomac Pool will open on Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30) from 12-6pm. The pools will be open only on weekends through June 12. Starting on June 18, the pools will be open most days of the week, starting at 11am and will remain open until Labor Day (Monday, September 5). Meanwhile, the new King-Greenleaf Spray Park at Canal and N streets will open for the summer on Saturday, May 28, operating daily from 10am-7pm. The spray park will close on Labor Day. 

On a separate note, the SW Duck Pond, which has been closed for construction, is expected to reopen on July 4.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

SW Library Planning Meeting Next Thursday

The first of what will likely be many meetings on the development and design of a new SW Branch Library will be held next Thursday in the basement meeting room of the library (900 Wesley Place). This meeting will be hosted by the SWNA New Library Task Force and the guest presenter will be DCPL Executive Director Richard Reyes-Gavilan. The last time Reyes-Gavilan was at a community meeting to discuss the SW Branch Library, he presented plans to include a new library in the District-owned Waterfront Station parcel on 4th Street as part of a mixed-use development. That plan was met with community opposition, so it was abandoned by the city. Back in March, DMPED announced during its “March Madness” event that a new, standalone library would be built on the same site as the existing facility, which is what many in the community preferred due to the synergy created with the adjacent 3rd and I streets playground and the opportunity to create an architecturally-significant civic building. 

The library meeting on May 12 will be held from 7-9pm.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Running of the Chihuahuas Rain Date is May 7

The 5th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas event at The Wharf was postponed from last Saturday to May 7 from 1-4pm due to inclement weather. The event will be located at 600 Water Street and include food from Sol Mexican, Red Hook, and Captain Cookie food trucks, as well as live music from Phil Kominski. The deadline to register dogs is Friday, May 6, but walk-ins will be accepted until all spots are full. Chihuahuas will only be permitted to run in the races, but other dog breeds can be entered for other contests including “Best Dressed Dog” and “Best Trick.” Admission to the event is free, but the entry fee for dogs to race is $25 per dog. All race proceeds will benefit Rural Dog Rescue, a non-profit organization which rescues dogs from high-hill rural shelters. 

So far this spring, the weather hasn’t been cooperative with events at The Wharf. Back in April, the SW Waterfront Fireworks Festival was cancelled due to high winds and chilly weather. Luckily, the current weather forecast for Saturday’s Running of the Chihuahuas looks promising.

Southwest Z-Burger to Change Names

Following a settlement agreement between two factions of the Z-Burger ownership group, several Z-Burger restaurants will be re-branded in the next couple of months, including the Waterfront Station restaurant, according to the Washington Business Journal. Z-Burger opened next to Station 4 at 1101 4th Street back in 2012. Only one vacant retail space is left at the first phase of Waterfront Station – a storefront adjacent to Station 4. Another 5,000 SF of retail space will be available at Waterfront Station when Eliot on 4th opens late this year or early 2017. In addition, PN Hoffman will bring an additional 22,500 SF of community-oriented retail to their proposed project at the vacant parcel north of CVS. Ground floor retail is planned at the other two remaining office pads at 4th and M streets. Once Waterfront Station is fully built out, more than 130,000 SF of retail will be located along 4th Street.

Monday, April 25, 2016

D.C. United Stadium Demolition Ceremony

An official demolition ceremony was held this morning at the site of the future D.C. United Stadium in Buzzard Point. Speakers at the event included Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson, Ward 6 Council Member Charles Allen, D.C. United owner Jason Levien and others. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner stated during his remarks that the stadium project will provide 1,000 construction and permanent jobs, as well as help generate $1 billion in economic activity once Buzzard Point reaches buildout. It’s anticipated that approximately 1 million visitors will come to the stadium per year once it is built – construction will get underway this fall with completion by the start of the 2018 MLS season. This summer, a Community Workforce Coordinator will be hired to help connect Ward 6 residents to construction jobs at this project. Later, a Hospitality and Pre-Apprenticeship Coordinators will also be hired.

Ward 6 CM Allen gives remarks.
Mayor Bowser gives remarks.

A large crowd gathers for demo event.

The 96'ers were in attendance.

I couldn't get to the front row fast enough for the obligatory photo-op.

The District is responsible for horizontal development of the site, including razing existing buildings, utility work, and environmental remediation while D.C. United will build the stadium. There were a few protesters outside of the demolition event, many in face masks, with signs – one sign said “Protect out health, our children, our lives from contamination.” The Buzzard Point area is heavily polluted due to its primarily industrial past. The stadium, along with construction from the new Waterfront Pepco substation directly north of the stadium site, the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, and other sites in Buzzard Point which may be developed in the near future, will require extensive remediation and may cause a lot of dust to form in the neighborhood. In fact, there was what appeared to be an air quality control machine at the event.

Protesters citing environmental issues.
Air quality control machine.

After the speeches, the Mayor donned a hard hat and started demolishing a metal-clad building at 2nd and S streets. Below is a video of Mayor Bowser doing some demo work. Levien and Allen also got their turn at the helm.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wharf Update

The Wharf is buzzing with construction activity, as structural steel framing for the new Wharf Hall at Parcel 2 is out of the ground and pillars for the apartment building there are now above ground. Meanwhile, the apartment building at Parcel 4A has now reached the fourth floor and VIO condos (Parcel 4B) is not far behind.

It was announced in that Hoffman Madison Waterfront received construction financing for the dual Canopy by Hilton/Hyatt House hotel project on Parcel 5 adjacent to 7th Street Park. 

Starting next month, 7th Street at Maine Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic so work can get started at 7th Street Park. Also in May, traffic will reopen on Water Street and M Place around the new 525 Water condo building and St. Augustine’s Church, the former of which looks almost complete.

Utility work continues at the new Waterfront Park adjacent to 525 Water condos. Construction on the park is expected to be complete late this year.

Work on extending the commercial Pier 4 continues. Look here for more information on what’s planned at the new Pier 4. A pair of construction cameras have been set up so you can keep track of what’s going on at The Wharf. 525 Water/St. Augustine's should open in 2016 while the rest of phase one should be complete by the fall of 2017. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

SWBID to Move to New Digs

SWBID will soon be moving from their temporary quarters at Arena Stage to the ground floor of Patriots Plaza on 4th Street, across the street from the CFL. The BID has begun ramping up operations since it was formed last year. One of the most visible signs has been the "Clean Team", which can be seen sprucing up the area. Also, new outdoor furniture was installed in the SW lot of Waterfront Station at 4th and M streets, where AYA Markets will return later this spring for their weekly Saturday morning farmers market. The monthly Market SW night market will also be back on the fourth Friday of each month starting on May 27 through October 28. Vendors who are interested in participating can find an application here. Another activation space within the BID will be located at Maryland Avenue and 7th Street, where food trucks gather during lunchtime to feed the thousands of Federal employees who work in the area.

Demolition Ceremony for D.C. United Stadium on Monday

A demolition ceremony to make way for the new (tentatively named) D.C. United Stadium will be held on Monday, starting at 11am. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. United representatives, and other dignitaries will be on hand for the demolition ceremony, to be held at 2nd and S streets in the stadium footprint. The District took ownership of the land for the stadium last year and is still dealing with eminent domain proceedings for a two-acre portion that was owned by Akridge. A PUD for the 20,000-seat stadium designed by Populous was filed in January and is making its way through the approvals process with the Zoning Commission. 

 At a Zoning Commission pubic meeting last month, the stadium design was described as “boring”, “austere” and “prison-like” by the Commissioners, so expect some revised drawings in the coming weeks. Once approvals have been secured and environmental remediation is complete, construction is expected to start around September with the stadium opening in time for the start of the 2018 MLS season in March. 

Rendering courtesy of D.C. United

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Construction Activity at St. Matthew’s Site

Construction equipment has finally arrived on site at Delaware Avenue and M Street, which will be transformed into a new sanctuary for St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church and a 221-unit apartment building. The sanctuary will be at the corner of Delaware Avenue and M Street and the 11-story apartment building will run along M Street. Chain link fencing has been up around the site for years, but in the past few days, a construction trailer arrived along with backhoes, and Delaware Avenue was closed on Monday as construction crews started digging in the street. Parking restrictions on both sides of Delaware Avenue are expected for the next two months as utility work is done for the project, but restrictions on the west side of the street will last longer since it will take about two years to finish construction.

The St. Matthew’s project is a long time coming – the PUD was approved in November 2012 and a two-year extension was requested in late 2014. This is the second rental apartment building to start construction over the past couple of months in the quadrant. Construction began last month at 301 M Street, located cattycorner from the St. Matthew’s site. Within the next few months, two more apartment buildings will get underway. Construction on two new rental apartment buildings on the parking lots of the View at Waterfront apartments on 6th and M streets and 6th and K streets should get started this summer (a new name for this project will be announced soon). 

Rendering courtesy of Shalom Baranes Associates

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Randall Field Ribbon Cutting this Saturday

The new multipurpose turf field at Randall Recreation Center has a new name which may sound familiar to Nationals fans…the Ryan Zimmerman Field will officially open this Saturday with a ribbon cutting at 10am. The festivities begin at 8:30am with “fun and games” and concludes with an inaugural baseball game at 10:30am. Guests will include the aforementioned Zimmerman, Nationals manager Dusty Baker, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen, ANC 6D commissioners, and other dignitaries. All are welcome to attend. The field was redone this past fall and winter by a partnership between DPR/DGS, the Nationals Dream Foundation, the Cal Ripken ?Sr. Foundation, and Under Armour, which includes baseball and soccer fields.