Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Buzzard Point Construction Activity

A stroll down 2nd Street in Buzzard Point reveals a much changed landscape. In two years, there will be a new Pepco Waterfront substation and a D.C. United soccer stadium, but for now, the area is a large construction zone. Hardly any buildings exist from Q Street to T Street, save for the historic Dent house at the corner of 2nd and R streets, which is owned by Pepco and will be preserved while they build their new substation. The Pepco substation construction is further along – digging has reached 15 feet below grade and excavation is complete with the foundation being poured (see above photo). Construction should be complete by June 2017. 

Looking NE toward Nationals Park from S Street
Meanwhile, demolition of existing structures at the D.C. United stadium site is complete and utility work is about to begin. The District is responsible for horizontal development, so the District’s portion of the process will be complete this fall.  A demolition ceremony was held in April when Mayor Bowser helped take down a metal-clad building at 2nd and S streets. Once utility work is complete and D.C. United finishes the PUD process for the design of the stadium, the team will be responsible for building the stadium, along with implementing the environmental remediation plan the District devised. The latest estimate of when construction could begin is the end of 2016 with the stadium opening in 2018. 

Both projects are happening simultaneously, so the two are coordinating a traffic control plan with phased street closures as delivery trucks haul away dirt and bring in concrete. There will be an enforced work zone around Buzzard Point with a 15 MPH speed limit in the area; cameras will be set up by MPD; and no construction trucks will be allowed in the residential neighborhood north of Q Street. The traffic consultant from Dewberry presented phase one of the Traffic Control Plan at Monday’s ANC meeting, which involves street closures at Potomac Avenue, Half Street, and R Street.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Parcel 11 Update

Construction will be wrapping up at the new St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in the next couple of months. On Wednesday, September 24, the church will celebrate its reopening with a convocation, starting at 4pm. Meanwhile, 525 Water condos are approaching 50% pre-sold and the building is open for unit tours. Move-ins are scheduled to start this summer. These are the first buildings at The Wharf that will be completed. Infrastructure work continues at Waterfront Park, a three-acre open space adjacent to 525 Water, and construction should be completed either late this year or by early next year. The remaining buildings in phase one are supposed to be complete in the fall of 2017.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Breaking: STC and Erkiletian to Withdraw The Bard PUD Application

Erkiletian Development and Shakespeare Theatre Company announced this morning that they have withdrawn their PUD application for 501 I Street. Known as The Bard, the project would incorporate administrative, educational, and rehearsal space as well as a costume design shop for Shakespeare, as well as actor and fellow housing and an apartment building. The development team plans to resubmit the application this fall. From the press release: 
The Shakespeare Theatre Company and Erkiletian Development is committed to staying in the District of Columbia and Southwest DC, and will continue working with community leaders and neighbors on a building that meets the requirements articulated through the planning process.
Last week, the development team submitted a revised PUD with additional community benefits. Community opposition and the Office of Planning's recommendation that the project not get a set-down hearing may have prompted the PUD withdrawal.  Stay tuned...

Rendering courtesy of Shalom Baranes Associates

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More Community Benefits Added to Bard PUD

An amendment was filed last week to the Planned Unit Development (PUD) application for The Bard, a planned development at 501 I Street by Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) and Erkiletian. These amendments are the result of meetings with the community and the ANC to discuss community benefits. These new benefits are in addition to those previously included in the PUD. Below is a summary of the additional benefits proffered by the development team: 
  • The number of Inclusionary Zoning units has increased by two to 11, which is set aside for households earning up to 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). 
  • Two units at 40% of AMI will be set aside for at least 10 years for top leadership and teaching talent at neighboring Amidon-Bowen Elementary School and Jefferson Academy. 
  • STC will create a long-term curriculum with Amidon-Bowen and Jefferson, including live performances twice a year at each school and after school programming twice a week. 
  • STC will bring up to 100 students and teachers to one STC production each year for free, including bus transportation.
Whether these proposed additions will be sufficient to the vocal opposition to this project remains to be seen. The Office of Planning has recommended that a set-down hearing not be scheduled for the project since the proposal is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan or the Southwest Neighborhood Plan. Those plans call for institutional uses or moderate density, but the proposed mixed use building would vary in height between four and seven stories, which is inconsistent with moderate density.

Rendering courtesy of Shalom Baranes Associates

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Adios Z-Burger, Eliot Getting Closed Up

At Waterfront Station, a new sign is up outside of the restaurant formerly known as Z-Burger. It is now called All About Burger. The Southwest location was one of four former Z-Burger restaurants that were affected by a settlement agreement between the ownership groups. In addition to the new sign, the beverage cups no longer have the Z-Burger logo. Otherwise, the restaurant decor and the menu don’t look much different than they did before.

Up the street from All About Burger, Eliot on 4th has most of its windows now installed on the 4th Street side of the building. What's not shown in the above photo is the red facade that's now being placed on the south-facing facade. The 365-unit apartment building is scheduled to open in early 2017 with about 5,000 SF of ground floor retail. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wharf Retail News

A few more retailers have been announced for the first phase of The Wharf. According to the Washington Business Journal, Social Restaurant Group plans to open a French-Mediterranean restaurant called La Vie. From the rendering, it appears that La Vie will be located in Parcel 2, which includes Wharf Hall and an apartment building. La Vie will be a 9,800 SF restaurant with a 1,100 SF waterfront terrace and will have access to a 5,000 SF rooftop terrace. Social Restaurant Group operates other establishments across the city, including Provision 14, The Prospect, and Bonfire.

In addition to La Vie, a lease has been signed with District Hardware and Bike, which would be the first hardware store (and bike shop) in Southwest. From the WBJ: 
The Foggy Bottom mainstay will open its second location at The Wharf, with a 6,300-square foot store. In addition to the hardware offerings and the bike shop, the Southwest location will also sell water sports equipment and feature a cafĂ© in conjunction with local coffee roaster Vigilante Coffee. 
At this month’s ANC 6D meeting, it was announced that Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits was applying for a liquor license at The Wharf on the future Pearl Street, an interior street between Maine Avenue and Wharf Street. The shop has an outpost at Union Market in NE and will be opening a 525 SF space at The Wharf. The commissioners decided to protest the license application because not enough information was known about the shop. According to the ABRA application, Cordial Craft Wine, Beer & Spirits will be: 
”A neighborhood liquor store serving alcoholic beverages and offering tastings on premise.” 
The proposed hours of operation would be Sunday through Thursday 7:00 am - 2:00 am, Friday and Saturday 8:00 am - 3:00 am. 

A 9,000 SF CVS is also planned – likely to be along Maine Avenue, which was where neighborhood-serving retail was supposed to be placed. Several other tenants were announced back in March, but the new batch are the first non-restaurant retailers to sign at The Wharf. 

In other Wharf news, states that a lease has been signed with MakeOffices, a collaborative office space provider for 45,000 SF at 800 Maine Avenue. The office building is one of two that will be built during the first phase of development at the Wharf.

Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

International Spy Museum to Open in L'Enfant Plaza in 2018

Preliminary site work started this month on the new International Spy Museum. By spring 2018, the museum will relocate from Penn Quarter to L’Enfant Plaza on a site fronting 10th Street. The new International Spy Museum will occupy 140,000 SF, much larger than the current facility and will allow for three levels of permanent exhibition space in addition to event space. A museum store and lobby will be located on the first floor. Part of the design includes a transparent “veil” which will allow people on 10th Street to see activity inside of the museum. JBG has partnered with the International Spy Museum on the project and has been designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Hickok Cole is the architect of record. 

JBG came before the ANC last week to get their support for doing foundation work in the parking garage during evening hours. The developer also wanted support for closing off an area in front of 10th Street for construction staging. Both requests for support were granted, although the ANC wanted JBG to report back to the commissioners if additional late work requests are needed. 

L’Enfant Plaza has been revamped in recent years, including a renovation of the retail center with new restaurants and stores and two renovated office buildings. Meanwhile, the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel is currently closed for renovations. The foundation and loading dock for a new office building was built in 2015 by JBG, but the rest of the building won’t be completed until an anchor tenant is secured.

The new museum will be located just a couple blocks south of the National Mall and will contribute to the revitalization of 10th Street, a wide, but forlorn stretch between the Smithsonian Castle and Banneker Overlook. A revitalized 10th Street was part of the SW Ecodistrict plan, which was developed by the National Capital Revitalization Commission for a multi-block area south of the National Mall and north of the Southwest freeway. The area is currently dominated by federal office space, but the plan calls for mixed use, sustainable development, as well as the reintroduction of Maryland Avenue and other streets.  

Rendering courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Friday, June 3, 2016

Neighborhood Events

  • On Thursday evenings, live jazz and blues will be played at Gangplank Marina Park at The Wharf, located at 600 Water Street from 6:30 to 8:30pm. The remaining schedule for June includes: 
June 9: Thad Wilson Quintet
June 16: Shirletta Settles & Friends
June 23: Marshall Keys Jazz Ensemble
June 30: Swampdog Blues Band 
  • Tonight is the first “Dive-In Movie” night, a Friday night free movie series with water-themed movies at Gangplank Marina Park. Tonight’s movie is Sharknado. Dive-In Movie night begins at 8pm. Other movies in June include:
June 10: Finding Nemo
June 17: The Perfect Storm
June 24: Splash 
  • Saturday mornings in June will bring Waterfront Workouts, including DC Dragons at 8am; YaLa Fitness at 9am; and M Street Yoga at 10am. 
  • The USDA Farmers Market at Night starts today from 4-7pm at 12th Street and Independence Avenue. The market will operate each Friday from now until September 30. Below is a list of vendors: 
Farmers and Growers: 
Eco Friendly Food, Moneta, VA
Good Sense Farm & Apiary, Washington, DC
Quaker Valley Orchards, Biglerville, PA
Ryan’s Fruit Market, Timberville, VA
TLV (Triadelphia Lake View) Tree Farm, Glenelg, MD
Black Pearl Tarts
Emma's Bakeshop
Lynnette's Cakes and Catering
Second Rising
The Cookie Jar 
DC Food Truck: 
Ball or Nothing
Dirty South Deli
Far East Taco Grill
Federal City Brothers  
Food Concessions: 
Eat 170
Thunder Beast
Timber Pizza Company  
Soap Maker: 
Georges Botanique Aromatiques
Specialty: Greca Terra
Undone Chocolate
Value Added Food Producers:
Number 1 Sons
PinUp Preserves
Senzu Juicery
She Peppers  
Dairy Product Maker: 
Ruby Scoops Ice Cream  
This is in addition to the day market at the same location every Friday through October from 9am to 2pm. 
  • Another farmer’s market can be found at The Lot at 4th and M streets on Saturdays from 10am – 2pm though November 19th. Dreaming Out Loud is bringing the Southwest DC Farmers Market to Waterfront Station with the support of SWBID and Waterfront Associates.
  • Market SW night market returns for a second year to The Lot at 4th and M streets and will take place on the fourth Friday of each month (the first one was last Friday) until November. The next one will be on June 24. For more information, visit
  • There will be a Southwest Community Yard Sale tomorrow starting at 9am. The yard sale will be at Harbor Square and Tiber Island (4th and N streets).

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Homeless Shelter Site Shifted to Unity Health Clinic Parcel

The DC Council voted today to move the proposed Ward 6 shelter site from a parcel adjacent to Blind Whino to the Unity Health Clinic site at 850 Delaware Avenue. The change was prompted by broad opposition by community members of the Blind Whino site, especially by residents of neighboring Capitol Park IV.  Since the site was privately owned, it would have required the District government to lease the shelter building, raising the cost. During the Council review of Mayor Bowser's Homeward DC plan to close DC General by creating homeless shelters in all eight Wards, all of the proposed privately-owned sites, including Ward 6, were changed to District-owned parcels. For a time, the proposed Ward 6 shelter was not going to be in Southwest at all - a site was identified at 200 K Street NW, but ultimately due to legal issues with that site, the Unity site was selected.

According to a statement by Ward 6 Council Member Charles Allen's office, Unity Health Clinic will be rebuilt as part of the deal:
The 850 Delaware Avenue, SW site was identified early on by the Southwest community as a possible alternative to the initial proposal at 700 Delaware Avenue, SW. In addition, this location has more favorable zoning and is large enough to accommodate up to 50 units of housing. Further, after constructive conversations with the Mayor and her team, the city has committed to replacing and rebuilding the community health center located at that site, and has also committed to protecting and preserving critical Greenleaf public housing through a Build First model of redevelopment as prioritized by the Southwest community.
An initiative by the CBCC several months ago called for the Unity site to be used as a seniors' housing/health complex as a first step in redeveloping Greenleaf under a Build First model. As a result of the Council's actions, a new District or Federally-owned parcel in Southwest will need to be used to implement Build First at Greenleaf.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Historic Designation Sought for Buzzard Point Power Plant

An application was filed by the DC Preservation League to give historic designation to the decommissioned Buzzard Point Power Plant, an art moderne structure built in 1933 at Half and V streets. The old water intake plant (now the Matthew Henson Conservation Corps building) is also included in the designation application. SWNA submitted an historic designation application for the power plant in 2013, but decided to withdraw it. Ideas for repurposing the power plant building have included an art gallery a la Tate Modern in London or an entertainment facility like Power Plant Live! in Baltimore. 

Interest in Buzzard Point has increased significantly over the past few months once it was certain a new stadium would be built there for D.C. United and the Office of Planning released their Buzzard Point Vision Framework Plan. Recent announcements include: 

In addition, Pepco is building a new substation just north of the stadium footprint at 2nd and R streets. Many of these sites were mentioned as potential development opportunities in a post I wrote back in 2013. We’ll see if any others on the 2013 list will come to fruition soon…