Friday, December 9, 2016

Landscape Architect Selected for Riverpoint

West 8 was selected as the designer of the public realm and waterfront for the Riverpoint project on Buzzard Point. This will be the firm’s first Washington project – it has done work around the world, notably at Governor’s Island in New York City, Madrid, Seoul, and Hong Kong. While we don’t know yet what the project will look like, this excerpt from West 8’s website gives some clues about their design philosophy: 
West 8 approaches the production of nature in two different - but characteristically Dutch - ways. First, we take a classic civil engineering approach for creating landscape - a logic based on utility and necessity. Second, we are part of a landscape tradition that confers identity and, therefore, understand the need for creating symbols in the production of landscape. This method envisions a new nature, a 'second nature' of constructed landscapes that respond to pragmatic demands (water management, population growth, traffic congestion) and also reinforce the culture to which they belong (identity, symbols, expression).
In a departure from the old demolish and install engineering methodology, or the current preserve and protect model, we are adding and expressing new natures. The real future in today's debate about sustainability lies not in a political or philosophical dialogue about what we are protecting or how we are going to 'sustain' it, but rather how to actively create new ecologies. Creating land and then painting it: in many ways, this is the soul of Dutch culture. 
Riverpoint is a planned mixed-use development on the site of the former Coast Guard headquarters at 2100 Second Street, spearheaded by Western Development, Akridge, Orr Partners, Redbrick LMD LLC and Jefferson Apartment Group. Anticipated uses include apartments, condos, 80,000 SF of retail, and floating restaurants.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Design Changes for Peninsula 88 Condos

Developers filed with the Zoning Commission last month a request to review and approve a “Modification of Significance” for the planned condo project at 1st and V streets on Buzzard Point, formerly known as Marina Place condos. Since Capital City Real Estate purchased the land for this project, located just north of the shuttered Buzzard Point Marina, plans changed for the design of the building and the condominium project is now called Peninsula 88. The previous design resulted in pie-shaped units, creating awkward floor plans that would be difficult to furnish. In addition, there were fewer two bedroom units and the 1 bedroom units were larger. 

The revised design will incorporate 97 condo units in an eight-story building with the flexibility to have between 75 and 110 units. This includes five 2-story “rowhouse” units along V Street with direct access from the street. Ground floor units will have terraces and the upper floors will have balconies. Some units on the top floor will have private rooftop decks. A communal rooftop deck also will be available for residents with a fire pit, outdoor grill, dining table, and various seating including chaise lounges, dining chairs, and benches. 

Unit sizes range between 1,300 and 1,500 SF. The project is designed by Eric Colbert & Associates and will seek LEED-Silver certification. Some of the green features include an extensive green roof and bio-retention tree pits. Building materials, include precast concrete wall panels, aluminum vertical fins, and glass railings on the balconies. There will also be 1,800 SF of retail along 1st Street. Parking will be provided in a garage with 70 spaces (an additional 44 “vault” spaces will be provided if approved by the Zoning Commission since they would be located in public space) and 38 bike parking spaces. 

Previous design of Marina Place
A hearing is scheduled in February to review the proposed design changes and construction is expected to begin later in 2017. On a related note, a meeting will be held by the National Park Service on December 13 where design concepts will be revealed for the adjacent Buzzard Point Marina site. The meeting will take place at the SW Branch Library (901 Wesley Place) King-Greenleaf Recreation Center (201 N Street) from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Following the meeting there will be a 30-day comment period, which will close on January 12. Comments and feedback can be sent via or mailed to: 

Tammy Stidham 
National Park Service National Capital Region 
ATTN: Buzzard Point Park Development Concept Plan 
1100 Ohio Drive SW 
Washington, DC 20242 

Renderings courtesy of Eric Colbert & Associates

Thursday, December 1, 2016

25th Annual Parade of Lights and Amidon Fundraiser on Saturday!

The 25th annual Parade of Lights will take place along the Southwest Waterfront on Saturday, starting at 5pm. The parade features boats decorated with lights which will make their way up the Potomac River from Old Town Alexandria towards the Washington Channel and the District Wharf. There will be other activities as well, including photos with Santa, a bonfire, gingerbread cookie making, and sailboat crafting. Although the current forecast high for Saturday is 48 degrees, event planners guarantee there will be snowfall. The event will end at 8pm and the location is 600 Water Street.

Also on Saturday, there will be a fundraiser at All About Burger for Amidon-Bowen Elementary, so you can grab a burger before or after the Parade of Lights for a good cause. Below is the flyer that must be presented to the cashier when ordering food so Amidon-Bowen receives the proceeds. 

Don’t forget about the Christmas tree giveaway on Saturday morning at the St. Matthew’s lot (3rd and M streets).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Soccer Stadium's Parcel B Marketed for Development

While D.C. United deals with ANC opposition and Zoning Commission concerns over the design of its proposed stadium on Buzzard Point, a second parcel across 1st Street from the project is now being marketed by MAC Realty Advisors. Parcel B, as it’s being called for now, is a 1.6-acre piece of land bordered on the west by 1st Street, on the east by Half Street, on the north by the proposed public park, and on the south by S Street. Potential uses for the site run the gamut from a hotel, to office, to residential – either option potentially containing ground floor retail. D.C. United is expected to reach an agreement with a developer partner by March 2017. This parcel will have to go through its own design review with the Zoning Commission before construction can begin, but the site will likely remain vacant for only a short time after the stadium opens in 2018. 

Rendering courtesy of D.C. United

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SW Site on Shortlist for New DoL Headquaters

According to the Washington Business Journal, a site at the intersection of South Capitol and M streets is one of the three under consideration by the GSA to relocate the Department of Labor headquarters. The current headquarters building is located at 200 Constitution Avenue NW. GSA is looking for a site that can accommodate between 850,000 and 1.4 million SF of space for the new DoL headquarters. In addition to South Capitol & M streets, the other two sites are located in NoMa and Poplar Point. While the GSA lists the SW site as “Capitol Riverfront,” it is technically within the SW BID. The site is currently occupied by a parking lot and a 7-Eleven and is owned by Vornado. Previously, the parking lot was an office building before it was demolished several years ago. The parking lot is currently being used by The View at Waterfront for parking since construction of two new residential buildings are currently underway on their parking lots. 

If the South Capitol and M streets site is selected, it would be the second federal headquarters to be located on the M Street corridor - the Department of Transportation headquarters is located at M and 3rd streets, SE. It would also be the first federal headquarters building in Southwest located south of the freeway.

Building which used to occupy intersection of Half & M streets.

A contract will be awarded next month to evaluate the three sites in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the public will have the opportunity to comment during this phase. There is no timetable for when the preferred site is selected or when construction would begin.

This post will be updated when more information is available.

Top image courtesy of Google Earth

L'Enfant Plaza Hotel to Become a Hilton Property

The L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, which was closed in 2014 for extensive renovations after it was purchased by Sanford Hotels Group, will become a Hilton property (h/t to Waterfront Gateway Association). The Hilton Washington DC National Mall hotel is located above the recently renovated east office building and will open in 2018. There will be a total of 367 hotel rooms, including 18 suites and two Presidential Suites. According to the hotel’s website, the following amenities will be available: 
  • 21,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space 
  • Grand ballroom accommodates up to 800 people 
  • Super fast wireless internet in all meeting rooms 
  • Complimentary wireless access in all public spaces 
  • Complete conference services staff and audio/visual team 
  • All guestrooms feature one or two king beds 
  • Executive concierge lounge with complimentary continental breakfast each morning and hors d’oeuvres each evening 
  • Non-smoking hotel with designated smoking area outside 
  • Contemporary full-service restaurant / bar / lounge 
  • Full service market and sundry shop Room service 
  • Outdoor pool with lounge seating and fire pits 
  • Fitness center with professional cardiovascular & aerobic equipment 
  • Valet and self-garage parking 

This isn’t the first Hilton hotel planned for L’Enfant Plaza. A Homewood Suites by Hilton was planned to be built at 9th and D streets by JBG, but those plans have been put on hold indefinitely. 

Rendering courtesy of Sanford Hotels Group

Monday, November 28, 2016

ANC Expresses Concern Over Components of D.C. United Stadium Plan

The Zoning Commission will be meeting this evening to hold a public hearing on the D.C. United stadium PUD. Ahead of the hearing, several letters of support and others in opposition have been pouring in to the Commission. One of those letters of opposition comes from ANC 6D, which still has concerns about the transportation plan and environmental issues with the Buzzard Point site. At the October ANC meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to not support the PUD until a number of issues were addressed. Although D.C. United revised their PUD application earlier this month, partially in response to the October vote, those changes did not sufficiently address the major concerns of the ANC. 

On transportation, the ANC feels that there is insufficient planning with regard to parking, ingress and egress from the stadium, and a lack of public transport options. Since a streetcar is no longer planned to serve Buzzard Point and the promised restoration of the Convention Center – SW Waterfront Circulator route has lost funding, some of the assumed transportation options can’t be considered to serve the stadium. From the ANC letter: 
ANC-6D continues to assert there exists no reliable Transportation Plan for the Stadium & Buzzard Point. DC United’s transportation plan is not informed by and/or directly contradicts a number of transportation proposals advanced by DDOT, team consultants, Office of Planning (each of which is currently in the Case File), and most specifically, the Buzzard Point Vision Plan which purports to present Half Street as the “Transportation Spine of Buzzard Point.” In addition, and in answer to specific questions about the current Buzzard Point Plan, we have also heard statements quotes made in public meetings from both the Directors of Transportation and the Office of Planning that contradict the recommendations of their own departments in this matter. 
With regard to environmental concerns, most of Buzzard Point was used for industrial purposes and as a result, the land contains contaminants. The land will need to be remediated before construction begins. From the ANC letter: 
ANC-6D recognizes that the near Buzzard’s Point residential community is a close knit neighborhood currently facing definite health consequences as a result of the excavation and remediation of the soccer stadium site. Although a great deal of preliminary work has been on-going for months to prepare this extraordinarily contaminated site for future development, including tearing down and removal of structures that contained asbestos and other hazardous materials, little or no effort has been directed toward preparing community residents to deal with the enormous environmental impact that the removal of all of the chemicals and contaminants may have on their health. Significant vapor contamination from dust, gases and fumes is inevitable on site since the clean-up plan includes removal of such contaminated soil both on and below the surface. 
In light of these concerns, the ANC is requesting a delay in the start of construction until these issues are resolved. If the Zoning Commission approves the PUD, construction is scheduled to begin in early 2017 with the stadium opening by the summer of 2018.

Update: Many of the issues addressed by the ANC were brought up during the 4+ hour Zoning Commission hearing. Among the other concerns brought up by the Zoning Commission include the stadium's industrial design, while in the eyes of the Commission is improved, still looks utilitarian and exposes the "underbelly" of the facility; too much signage; valet bike parking located opposite of the main stadium entrance; and no reuse of water collected on site. There was not enough time to complete all testimony at the hearing, so a second meeting was scheduled for December 14 at 6:30pm.

Rendering courtesy of D.C. United

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Capitol Park Tower Addition to be Called The Kiley on 4th

The second phase of Capitol Park Tower apartments now has a name…it will be called The Kiley on 4th. The name pays homage to Dan Kiley, the landscape architect that designed Capitol Park and other Southwest landmarks, such as Benjamin Banneker Park. Since Capitol Park Tower was deemed historic by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), the project needed to seek approval from the Board. After a lot of back-and-forth with HPRB, the 330-unit project gained approval in early 2016. Some original elements from Dan Kiley’s design will remain, such as the large pool on the east side of Capitol Park Tower. Other components will be reimagined, such as the concrete canopies used to cover the parking garage will be repurposed as covered walkways between the existing building and the addition. New landscaping between the addition and Capitol Park Tower will be designed to more closely resemble Kiley’s original design. In addition, the surface parking located on G Street will be replaced with landscaping. 

Construction on The Kiley is expected to get started in 2017 with completion in 2019. 

Renderings courtesy of WDG

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Belated Review of Third Greenleaf Planning Meeting

There was a Greenleaf community meeting back in the summer which gave an update on the long process ahead to redevelop Greenleaf as a mixed-income community. There were two other community meetings in March 2016 and October 2015 where input was gathered on the redevelopment plan. 

In order to start the redevelopment process, the Housing Authority has made a commitment to using a “Build First” model, so existing residents are not displaced from the neighborhood while the public housing complex is redeveloped over the next several years. Two nearby publicly-owned sites have been identified as potential candidates to build the initial phase of the redeveloped Greenleaf. One is the parking lot adjacent to MPD’s First District headquarters at the northeast corner of Delaware Avenue and M Street. The other site is the DC FEMS Engine 7 repair shop at Half and M streets. 

Greenleaf boundaries in orange; pins show potential "Build First" sites

The preliminary development plan developed by the consultant HR&A Advisors would first involve the construction of a mixed-income building at the selected “Build First” site so some of the existing residents can move there to allow for a phased demolition of the existing Greenleaf buildings, starting with the townhouses along M Street. In the preliminary development plan, there are a mix of housing types and heights. Generally, the building heights are highest along M Street and taper down to the north and south. The redevelopment of the 15-acre site is split into four blocks: 

  • Block A is bounded by 3rd Street to the west, Delaware Avenue to the east, M Street to the south and L Street to the north. An affordable seniors/disabled 11-story apartment building with 272 units would be built along M Street with about 15,000 SF of ground floor retail. The northern portion of the block would be developed with a mixed-income nine-story multifamily building with 214 units. 
  • Block B is bounded by 3rd Street to the west, Delaware Avenue to the east, L Street to the south and K Street to the north. The west portion would have about 37 townhouses and the east side of the block would be a seven-story multifamily building with about 207 units, with some townhouses on the lower floors. 
  • Block C is bounded by 3rd Street to the west, Delaware Avenue to the east, K Street to the south and I Street to the north. The west portion would have about 37 townhouses and the east side of the block would be a mid-rise multifamily building with about 340 units, with some townhouses on the lower floors. 
  • Block D is bounded by Delaware Avenue to the west, King-Greenleaf Recreation Center to the east, King Greenleaf Ballfield to the south and M Street to the north. On the northwest portion of the block, an 11-story building would be constructed along Delaware Avenue with about 320 units and 7,000 SF of ground floor retail. A second 11-story multifamily building would be constructed on the northeast portion of the block – this one would have about 420 units, with some townhouses on the lower floors. The south portion of the block would include 42 townhouses. 

Excluding the “Build First” phase of development, nearly 1,900 units would be built at Greenleaf, replacing the existing 493 units of affordable housing and adding a significant amount of market-rate housing. Nothing new has happened since the July meeting, but the next step in the process is to come to an agreement with the District on a site to do “Build First.” Following that, the redevelopment plan needs to be finalized and then the Housing Authority will issue a RFP to select a developer partner.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Library Planning Meeting

A community meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 30 at 7pm at the SW Branch library (900 Wesley Place) to discuss the modernization of the MLK Library downtown. In addition, there will be discussion on plans for a new SW Branch library on the existing site, for which DCPL recently released a RFP for design-build services. DCPL will select the winning Design-Build team by March 2017 and will begin the design process in the spring. An interim library will be built, which will occupy approximately 3,000 SF in existing retail or commercial space within a reasonable distance from the current library. The budget for the new library and interim facility is $11.7 million. Construction of the interim library will begin in the middle of 2018 and the old library will be demolished once the interim facility is complete, around August 2018. The new library will then be built with an anticipated completion date of December 2019. The new library will be at least LEED-Gold certified.

Tangentially related: The Friends of the SW Library will have a Holiday Book Sale on Saturday, December 10 from 10am to 3pm. Sale proceeds support events and supplies for the SW Branch library.