Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reminder: SW Neighborhood Plan Mayoral Hearing Tomorrow!

Here is a reminder that a Mayoral Hearing for the Southwest Neighborhood Plan will be held tomorrow evening at 1100 4th Street, Second Floor (the same room where most ANC 6D meetings are held) from 6:30 – 8:30pm. The hearing will give residents the chance to share their comments on the plan. A summary of the plan can be found here and the full plan here. Written comments may also be submitted for the public record until January 30. Comments should be sent to: 

Melissa Bird 
Neighborhood Planning Coordinator for Ward 6
DC Office of Planning 
1100 4th Street, SW, Suite E650
Washington, DC 20024 

The ANC has also asked that residents who submit comments via email should also CC the ANC office (office@anc6d.org).

Image courtesy of DC Office of Planning

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wharf Hotel Site Sold

Carr City Centers has closed on a development site at The Wharf – Parcel 3B which is slated for a 278-key Intercontinental Hotel. The site was purchased from master developer Hoffman-Madison Waterfront. Parcel 3B is located at the intersection of Maine Avenue and 9th Street on the Wharf Street side. According to a press release, the hotel will have 17,000 square feet of water-view meeting space, a signature restaurant, spa, rooftop pool and bar. A separate entrance with an elevator will lead to a sky-view lounge on the 12th floor. The hotel will begin construction in the first quarter of 2016 with completion scheduled for the second quarter of 2017. This is one of three hotels that will open in the first phase of The Wharf. Hoffman-Madison Waterfront purchased Parcel 5 from The JBG Companies where an extended stay and lifestyle brand hotel will be built. An Aloft and Element were mentioned previously as the hotel brands that would be coming to Parcel 5, but a formal announcement will be made over the next three months. 

Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

Update: The WBJ has some additional details about the hotel.  Additional amenities for this "urban resort" include a rooftop infinity pool, a two-story presidential suite on the 11th and 12th floors, and about 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.  From the article:
The Wharf Intercontinental Hotel will be the brand's more contemporary version of luxury: clad in glass on two sides, an open-concept, glass-enclosed lobby with a restaurant whose glass outer wall will open up to the sidewalk, creating an interaction between diners and the waterfront...Industrial and maritime touches will be included throughout the hotel, which is being designed by a collaboration between project architect BBGM and Parker-Torres.

Friday, January 23, 2015

SOUP-er Bowl Tomorrow

Here’s a reminder that tomorrow is the SOUP-er Bowl, a soup taste-off between area chefs at Waterfront Station from 1 to 4pm. The event will be held in a heated tent on the vacant southwest parcel. There will be soup and chili samples from the area restaurants, including Station 4, Soup Up, Halsa, and Bar Pilar. A beer and wine garden will be on-site, with prices ranging from $5 to $7, as well as a complimentary football lounge that will stream highlights from past Super Bowls. Live music will be performed by a Motown band called The Original Moonlighters and there will also be DJs. Admission is free. 

This is the second event to be held at Waterfront Station over the past two months. In December, there was a fashion truck event. At last week’s ANC meeting, Gordon Fraley from Vornado and David Smith from Forest City indicated that there will be more events on the vacant parcels – at least one per quarter. They were at the meeting to request a two-year extension for stage one Planned Unit Development (PUD) approval, since the office market has not recovered yet in the District. It’s likely that the parcels will remain vacant for the time being, but if the developers keep to their word, there will be more events to activate the space.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sky House West is now Lex at Waterfront Station

With new ownership, Sky House West apartments has changed names to Lex at Waterfront Station. Bernstein Management recently purchased the building (and has Sky House East under contract) from Urban Atlantic and the JBG Companies. I hope to get inside the building soon and take some pictures. Community amenities include a fitness center, BBQ/Picnic area, rooftop pool and sundeck, clubhouse, business center, media room, bike racks, and concierge service. Unit finishes appear to be somewhat similar to Sky House East, including granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, subway tile backsplash, dark or light cabinets, hardwood floors in living areas, concrete walls, and interior bedrooms in select units. Leasing began this month.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Excavation to Begin This Week at 1001 4th Street

At tonight’s ANC 6D meeting, David Smith from Forest City Washington gave the commissioners an update on their planned 365-unit apartment building at the northwest parcel of Waterfront Station at 1001 4th Street. Since the developer received permits last month and it was announced last week that financing has been secured, construction is imminent. In fact, excavation is expected to begin this week – the construction trailer will arrive on Wednesday and a fence will go up around the site on Thursday. As a result, there will be a loss of six parking spaces along 4th Street for the duration of construction. Construction will last about 22 months with substantial completion scheduled for November of 2016. 

In other Waterfront Station news, Vornado and Forest City have requested a two-year extension of stage one PUD approval for 425 and 375 M Street, the two planned office buildings on the southwest and southeast parcels. Currently, PUD approval is set to expire on April 15 – the southwest parcel will be the expiration of an extension while the southeast parcel is the expiration of the original PUD approval. The office market is still challenged in the District and the developers have been unable to find tenants for the proposed buildings. Vornado and Forest City had a hearing scheduled with the Zoning Commission on February 9, but the hearing would have been on the same evening as the February ANC meeting and the commissioners wanted to meet with the developers regarding their concerns about the lack of maintenance and interim uses of the vacant parcels. There has been limited activity on the vacant parcels thus far – there was a bocce tournament and fashion truck event in 2014 and Souper Bowl (a soup competition) will take place on January 24; however, there are plans to host an event moving forward at least once a quarter. The developers agreed to push back the hearing date to March, so the commissioners tabled the resolution until next month. 

Marc Bleyer from DMPED also asked for support for extending stage one PUD approval for the District-owned northeast parcel, which also expires on April 15. A RFP has already been written for the parcel and will be released once the PUD extension has been granted, sometime this spring. A 400,000 square-foot residential building with 20% of the units set aside as affordable housing and ground floor retail has been approved for the site during the phase one PUD approval. It will take about 12 to 18 months to choose a developer and close on the sale of the parcel, which means the full two-year extension may not be necessary. The ANC also decided to table consideration of this extension request until next month.

Rendering courtesy of Perkins Eastman

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sky House West Apartments Sold

In case you were wondering what was taking so long for Sky House West apartments at Waterfront Station to start leasing, it was reported today in the Washington Business Journal that the building was sold by Urban Atlantic and The JBG Companies to Bernstein Management Corp for $80 million. Typically, if a newly constructed apartment building in DC is sold, it is done so before tenants move in so TOPA rules do not go into effect. Sky House West is a 264-unit building which was formerly an office building that served as the headquarters of the EPA. From the article: 
Bernstein owns and manages nearly 90 properties in the D.C. area. Its CEO said Sky House West is a "terrific asset," that Urban Atlantic "did an excellent job with the gut renovation, creating a quality product." 
Its sister building Sky House East, which is still owned by Urban Atlantic and The JBG Companies, began leasing in early 2014 and is now more than 95% occupied.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Few Quick NYE Items: DC United, SoCap, Fiddler Breaks Record, Topping Off

In one of his final acts before leaving office on January 2, Mayor Gray signed soccer stadium legislation into law yesterday, paving the way for a new stadium for DC United on Buzzard Point. The 20,000-seat stadium will be located at 2nd and R streets, next door to Fort McNair and about three blocks southwest of Nationals Park.

The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the South Capitol Street Project is now available and public comments can be submitted until February 2. A copy of the SDEIS is also available at the SW Branch Library. Check out JDLand for more details on the recent revisions proposed for the South Capitol Street corridor upgrade, including the reduction in size of the traffic oval planned on the west side of the Anacostia, changing the location of the replacement Frederick Douglass Bridge, and more. There will be a public hearing on January 22 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Mathews Memorial Baptist Church, Fellowship Hall located at 2616 Martin Luther King Jr, Avenue, SE.

Arena Stage announced this week that Fiddler on the Roof has broken box office records for the SW-based theater. Previously, the record was held by the production of Oklahoma!, which was originally run in 2010 during Arena’s inaugural season back in Southwest and returned for a summer run in 2011. Fiddler’s run has been extended and will now end on January 11, 2015. 

Before the Christmas holiday, a topping off celebration was held at the Hyatt Place/Engine 13 firehouse under construction at 400 E Street. Construction began on the long-awaited project last December and was the subject of my very first post on this blog back in 2008. Delivery of the hotel/firehouse is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015. In attendance was Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser, who also announced that she has appointed outgoing Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells as Director of the District Department of the Environment.

A 2014 Year in Review will soon be posted. Happy New Year!

Renderings courtesy of DC United and DDOT; Photo taken by Margot Schulman, courtesy of Arena Stage; webcam image courtesy of Oxblue 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

1001 4th Street Has Permits in Hand

A little more than a month after representatives from Waterfront Associates gave an update on their planned residential building at Waterfront Station, the Washington Business Journal reports that a sheeting and shoring permit has been granted for 1001 4th Street. Construction fencing has not gone up yet, but with permits now in hand, fencing should be up soon; however, it is doubtful that actual construction will begin before the New Year since it's now only 10 days before the end of the year. 1001 4th Street was designed by Perkins Eastman and is planned as an 11-story, 365-unit rental apartment building with 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail along with multi-story residential units facing the private drive at the north end of the site and Makemie Place. It will take about 22 months to build the project, which means that the building should be complete around the fourth quarter of 2016. After this building, there is one more residential parcel planned at Waterfront Station, which is the District-owned parcel across the street. Sky House East began leasing early this year and the finishing touches are being placed on Sky House West. The two vacant parcels on the south side of Waterfront Station are slated to be office buildings, but there is no timetable on when those will be built.

 Rendering courtesy of Perkins Eastman

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Demolition Underway for 500 L'Enfant Plaza

Demolition is underway along Frontage Road at L’Enfant Plaza to make way for 500 L’Enfant Plaza, a new, 220,000 square-foot trophy office building developed by The JBG Companies and designed by SmithGroup JJR. 500 L’Enfant Plaza has been designed for LEED-Gold certification and will include a green roof, triple-height lobby, and fitness center. It will also have direct access to the revamped retail center and the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station. 

500 L’Enfant Plaza is the latest component to L’Enfant Plaza, which has seen significant investment in recent years. A $12 million renovation to the common areas in the 955 L’Enfant Plaza office building was recently completed; the second phase of retail opened in stages this summer (the first retail phase opened in 2011); and the common areas of the 470/490 L’Enfant Plaza office building were renovated in 2012. Murals were painted by artists James Reka, SatOne, and Nawer on exterior walls along the L’Enfant Plaza Metro terrace and loading dock, as well as in the dining area. These murals are part of the JBG Mural Project designed to transform urban walls into public art and was curated by ArtWhino. There’s also the possibility that the International Spy Museum may relocate to the mixed-use complex, bringing more weekend activity to the retailers. However, it appears that the Homewood Suites extended-stay hotel that was planned for D Street has been scrapped for now. Another office building may eventually be built in the plaza itself. In addition, the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel was purchased by an affiliate of Sanford Hotels Group and is undergoing a complete renovation. 

Renderings courtesy of SmithGroup JJR