Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Bard: Act II


More than a year after withdrawing a PUD application for The Bard development at 501 I Street due to neighborhood opposition, the development team of Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) and Erkiletian recently submitted a new PUD, making several changes to their plans in the process. The site is currently zoned R-3 and the development team through the PUD process is requesting a change of zoning to MU-4. 


The current plan calls for a five-story building (four stories plus a habitable penthouse) and a five-story annex structure on the northeast portion of the site. The main building is U shaped and will contain 29,425 square feet on the first level and below-grade for STC administrative space, four rehearsal spaces, a costume shop, space for educational activities, as well as five actor housing units. On the upper floors, there will be 85 rental apartments. In the annex building, there will be five two-story duplex units for STC fellows on the lower floors and 15 units on the upper floors for STC actors. Within the project, approximately 11,400 SF of space will be set aside as affordable housing under inclusionary zoning, at 60% and 50% of AMI. At least one of the IZ units will be a three-bedroom unit. Additionally, two units will be set at 40% of AMI for the first 10 years of the project and will be reserved for teachers or staff at Amidon-Bowen Elementary or Jefferson Academy. 


There will be two entrances to the STC-controlled space, one on 6th Street and another on I Street. Meanwhile, the main residential entrance to the building will be on I Street. Actor housing units will have entrances on 6th Street in order to maintain a residential character on the street. Along I Street, there will be public art – including art panels and murals. Parking will be provided for 39 vehicles on-site in a below-grade garage as well as at least two electric charging stations, and 15 off-site spaces. There will also be 70 bicycle parking spaces. 


According to the PUD application, the following public benefits will be offered: 
Free performances aimed at young audiences and development of long-term curriculum for Amidon-Bowen and Jefferson Academy Schools; free performance tickets and scholarships and tuition discounts to Camp Shakespeare and Adult Master Acting classes; support for community arts programming; and public access to use assembly spaces/conference rooms within the Project for community meetings. 
The developers intend to work with ANC 6D to refine the list of public benefits. If approved, construction is expected to start in 2018 and finish in 2020. 

Renderings courtesy of Shalom Baranes Associates

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Peninsula 88 Groundbreaking


According to the Capitol Riverfront BID, a ceremonial groundbreaking for Peninsula 88 condos in Buzzard Point was held late last month. The condo project site from Capital City Real Estate is located adjacent to the shuttered Buzzard Point Marina at 88 V Street. There will be a total of 110 units with a mix of 1BR, 1BR/den, 2BR and penthouse units. Prices will range from $500,000 to $2.5 million. 


This is the first residential building to start construction in Buzzard Point south of Q Street. Other proposed projects include Riverpoint, the redevelopment of the former Coast Guard headquarters located to the west of Peninsula 88; 1900 Half Street, a former office building that will be converted to a 462-unit apartment project; 1800 Half Street, the site of warehouses and Ziegfield’s/Secrets that will be redeveloped as an approximately 300-unit apartment project. In addition, the vacant “Parcel B” adjacent to Audi Field may one day contain a residential component. Akridge’s 100 V Street parcel may also include residential (if Amazon H2Q doesn’t locate there). 

Even though a groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 26, actual construction has still not started. Sales at Peninsula 88 are expected to begin in 2018 with delivery in about two years.

Renderings courtesy of Eric Colbert & Associates

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Mayor Bowser to Speak at ANC 6D Meeting


With a little less than a year until the mayoral election, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser will be a guest at Monday’s ANC 6D meeting. The mayor is scheduled for about 50 minutes near the beginning of the meeting, with time for her opening remarks, questions from the commissioners, and questions from the community. This month’s meeting will be held at the new community center in Navy Yard, located at 1000 5th Street, SE at 7pm.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

New SW Library Design to Honor Mid-Century Modern Heritage


A community meeting was held last month to discuss the design of the new SW Branch library on Wesley Place. The sketch design of the new library by Perkins + Will gives a nod to mid-century modern architecture. Glass is used on the façade to give the library an open feeling and the roofline is angular, somewhat mimicking nearby United Methodist Church. On the north side of the library facing the playground, a “front porch” will be created with rocking chairs. The entrance to the library will shift from its current location on the west side to the northwest corner and will be double-height. 


As currently proposed, the new library will be about the same size as the current one (18,000 – 19,000 SF), but more of the space will be dedicated to public uses (81% in the new library vs. 66% in the current library). The first floor will contain the entrance and circulation desk, as well as children’s services, a multipurpose room, staff space and restrooms. On the second floor, space will be reserved for adult/teen services, meeting rooms, staff space and more restrooms. Unlike the current library, the new library will not have a basement level primarily due to flooding concerns and construction costs. There will be space inside the library set aside to highlight Southwest heritage as well as the creation of a “wow” factor, perhaps by the staircase. Other design elements include sanctuary spaces, the creation of curiosity and stimulation, as well as making the library’s flow intuitive for visitors. 


A total of $18 million has been set aside to build the new library and create an interim space during construction. By next summer, the interim library will be open and construction on the new library will commence, which is expected to last about 18 months. That timing places completion of the new library in early 2020. 

Renderings courtesy of Perkins + Will

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Anacostia Riverfront Eyed as Possible Amazon HQ2 Location


The Bowser administration this week released details on the four areas of the District that city officials are supporting in its bid to win the continent-wide competition to lure the second headquarters campus of Amazon. One of the four proposed areas is dubbed the Anacostia Riverfront, an area that includes portions of Capitol Riverfront and Poplar Point. The Capitol Riverfront parcels include undeveloped portions of the Yards in Southeast, as well as most of Buzzard Point. In all, 12.6 million SF of development potential exists, which would be sufficient to fully build out Amazon HQ2. Not all of it would be built as once – an initial phase could accommodate 1.4 million SF of space with a portion being built at Riverpoint (former Coast Guard headquarters) in Buzzard Point. In the District’s press release, it describes the Anacostia Riverfront neighborhood as a “riverfront entertainment hub accessible by land and water.” 


From the press release:
The Anacostia Riverfront proposal provides riverfront space along one of Washington, DC’s main waterways. It offers the best of two worlds: a breathtaking river corridor with more than 1,200 acres of parklands integrated into a high-density and transit-oriented community that is accessible by walking, biking, metro, ferry, or even kayak.
The other neighborhoods under consideration are NoMa-Union Station, Capitol Hill East, and Shaw-Howard University. Bids for the Amazon HQ2 RFP are due on 10/19. The company is expected to select a winner sometime in 2018. 

Renderings courtesy of DMPED

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

District Wharf is Here!


A large countdown clock finally reached zero on Thursday, which marked the date when the first phase of District Wharf would open to the public. It was a cool and misty morning which greeted those who came to witness the grand opening event. Hundreds of people packed District Pier to watch the opening festivities and many more lined the Wharf Street promenade. Representatives from the development team, city officials, and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton gave remarks about the amount of time and effort needed to bring the project to fruition, as well as the impact District Wharf will have on the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood and city. Noticeably absent was ANC 6D Chair Andy Litsky, who was in the hospital and had to miss the event. After the bands played, choirs sang, and speeches given, a daytime fireworks show marked the ending of the grand opening ceremony. 
































The opening ceremony event was just the beginning of a four-day celebration, which included a multitude of free concerts, fireworks, street performers, a sold-out opening night concert by The Foo Fighters at The Anthem, and many other activities. While many of the restaurants planned in the first phase have not yet opened, several new businesses made their debut over the four-day celebration. A large fountain greets visitors who arrive at District Square from the parking garage below and the space includes a concentration of retailers that were open for business, such as Politics and Prose, Blink Optical, Ligne Roset, and Martha Spak Gallery. The standalone building within District Square contains Requin, a Mike Isabella restaurant that was opened temporarily for opening weekend. It closed after opening weekend to finish construction of the space and train workers before reopening later this month. 













Wharf Street is made for strolling and will definitely become a place to go on date night. There are separate zones for café seating, limited mixed traffic, and a pedestrian promenade. Cobblestone pavers give the promenade a look of permanence and makes it look like it’s been there for decades. Kiosks along the promenade contain businesses, such as Florentjin Wafelhuis and Red Hook Lobster Pound.























Pearl Street is a located off of Wharf Street and contains smaller live music venues including Pearl Street Warehouse and Union Stage - the former is open but Union Stage still needs some time before it makes its debut. 












While Wharf Street is restaurant-heavy, the retailers along Maine Avenue are more geared towards convenience. District Hardware and Bike and CVS are the larger retailers along Maine Avenue. A separate bike lane has been created closer to the roadway and is separated from the sidewalk by a row of street trees.


District Pier is the largest pier at the project and was used as a stage during the opening celebration, but it also has a dockmaster building at the far end of it, which will direct traffic in the Washington Channel. Visiting tall ships can also dock alongside the pier.












Transit Pier is where visitors can catch a water taxi to Georgetown or Alexandria. Future service will include National Harbor and Navy Yard. A new fleet of yellow water taxis were designed to move faster in the water but not cause waves since most of the waters along the Washington Channel and the Potomac River are no-wake zones. Free rides were given on Thursday, but the normal water taxi fare is $12 one way or $20 round trip. Cantina Bambina, which is a mini version of Cantina Marina with limited food service, is also located on Transit Pier. 






















Market Pier is adjacent to the Municipal Fish Market (construction on the land side of the fish market is ongoing and should be completed by June 2018). This pier will be used by those that can tie in their vessels temporarily while visiting District Wharf. 


Meanwhile, the recreation pier at the end of 7th Street is a long, curvy space that allows users to launch a kayak or take a free water taxi jitney to East Potomac Park on the lower level. The upper portion of the pier includes swings large enough for adults to use and at the far end, a bonfire sculpture with seating awaits.












Next to Recreation Pier on the land side is 7th Street Park, a more formal oval-shaped open space, but has an interactive water feature close to Wharf Street which was popular with the kids on opening day.












Future posts will go into more detail on the individual spaces once I’m able to get back and get photos when there is better weather and not tens of thousands of people around (maybe the crowds won’t subside anytime soon). If you haven’t been to District Wharf yet, I highly recommend you go check it out!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Southwest Waterfront, A Look Back...


Good morning Southwest! It’s been more than a decade in the making, but the first phase of District Wharf finally opens today. After countless meetings, rendering revisions, and years of construction, we’ll finally be able to take a long stroll once again along the waterfront promenade (now called Wharf Street) from 7th Street to near the fish market. The media has covered The Wharf very well in the days and weeks leading to the opening, so what I thought I’d do is look back and see what used to be here along the sleepy Southwest Waterfront. Below are some before pictures:

Fish market crowds.
Fish market crowds.











View of Washington Channel from
9th and Water streets.
View of area roughly where District Pier is today.













Zanzibar on the Waterfront.
Phillips Flagship. 




View of Hogates/H2O from promenade.
Demolition of Hogates/H20.







View of Kastles Stadium from
the Washington Channel.




Kastles Stadium was built temporarily
where Hogates/H2O once stood.




Southwest sunset from Cantina Marina.




Cantina Marina, which will close
later this month.












Groundbreaking ceremony
for District Wharf.



Predecessor to the new water
taxi system serving SW.