Tuesday, March 31, 2009

South by Southwest Coming to DC

I'm not referring to the festival in Austin, but South by Southwest is the name of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel restaurant that will replace Cafe MoZU this summer, according to the Going Out Gurus at The Washington Post. A description of the Eastern Shore-inspired menu is described in the Post article:
A preview of the menu reveals blue crab soup, chicken and dumplings, braised rabbit leg with grits and hush puppies with honey butter. Desserts will highlight "small bites" of American classics and seasonal pies: carrot cake, strawberry shortcake, peach cobbler and grasshopper pie. Dinner entrees average $22; desserts are $5 each. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The naming of the restaurant is an attempt to relate the hotel more to its neighborhood, since the restaurant has windows with views of the Southwest Waterfront and Tidal Basin.

Above is a photo of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel taken in October 2008.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Scene From Southwest

I'm taking a break from posting since I'm going on vacation to the left coast tomorrow. There's no news yet on which Engine 13 firehouse proposal was recommended to Deputy Mayor Albert, but I'll pass along the news if I hear anything while in California. On an unrelated note, I was digging through some photos and came across this one I took a few months ago. Doesn't this segment of the interim Anacostia Riverwalk Trail in Buzzard Point look sooooo inviting? If you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SEU May Merge With USDA’s GS Graduate School

An article in today’s The Washington Post reports that Southeastern University, located at 6th & I Street, may lose its accreditation with the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, due to financial instability, dwindling enrollment, and a lack of academic rigor. SEU has been looking to merge with another institution in order to remain viable. A couple months ago, Southwest…The Little Quadrant That Could had a post about SEU possibly merging with UDC, but it sounds like from the Post article that SEU is in serious discussions with the GS Graduate School, which is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From the article:
The graduate school, whose primary location on Maryland Ave. Southwest is a few blocks from Southeastern near the National Mall, provides continuing education for some 150,000 students a year, most of them government employees. Officials at both schools hope to create a school with the stable finances and large enrollment of the graduate school but one that offers a wider range of degree opportunities focused on public service and federal job training. That could mean a new vision for Southeastern, said Jerry Ice, the president and CEO of the GS Graduate School. "The federal government has approximately 1.8 million workers, and almost another 2 million that are the contractors that do federal work," he said. His students are interested in continuing their studies to earn degrees, he said. "Both schools are excited about the possibilities," said J. R. Clark, chairman of Southeastern's board of trustees, and are considering everything from leadership to location to name changes to mission.
According to SEU’s website, the University is in the process of renovating its campus, called The Campaign For Southeastern. The first phase of renovation, which included three classrooms, faculty offices, and study areas, was completed in April 2008.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Non-GSA Tenants Moving to SW...Welcome!

The WBJ reports today that the Association of American Railroads (AAR) will lease 33,619 SF of space at Capitol View, a 317,000 SF office building that delivered in early 2008. I guess it's fitting that AAR's office may have a view of the Amtrak and freight trains that pass next to Capitol View, since this association represents the interests of both groups up on the Hill. In addition to AAR, a lobbying firm and a third tenant will make 425 3rd Street 15% occupied. Clark developed and local architect Shalom Baranes designed Capitol View, billed as a trophy class A office building with views of...you guessed it...the Capitol. GSA typically doesn't move into trophy buildings, and since Southwest has a reputation of attracting government agencies, it must have been especially difficult to find non-government tenants. Now that the building will no longer be empty, maybe some of the ground-level retail space can get leased! (The above photo of the empty ground-level retail space at Capitol View was taken in June 2008)

Update: In Wednesday's Real Estate BizNow, it states that lobbyists for Disney (zippity-do-da!) is one of the tenants that will move into Capitol View this fall.

Monday, March 9, 2009

ANC 6D Recommends to DMPED to Select E Street Development

At this evening's ANC 6D meeting, a multi-pronged resolution passed 7-0 to recommend to DMPED that they select E Street Partners (proposal #1) as the preferred developer for the DCFD Engine 13 parcels. Here is a link to part 1 and part 2 of proposal #1 (the file sizes are large). The resolution also requests that the winning development team have community partners in their proposal; makes the winning team come before the ANC to discuss their plans for community benefits; the team must attempt to hire ANC 6D constituents in the design and construction of the project; and they must attempt to hire locals to work in the retail space. E Street Partners was the only team to specifically name community partners with their proposal - the D.C. Central Kitchen and Kid Power Inc. (coincidentally, or not, a former ANC 6D commissioner works for Kid Power Inc.). While the recommendations of an ANC are supposed to carry great weight with the District government, DMPED is not required to follow the ANC's resolution in whole or in part. Also passed was a resolution to appoint Commissioner Jorgensen to represent the interests of the ANC and the community as an ex-oficio member when the DMPED panel meets to select the winning proposal. Jorgensen will compile a list of comments and concerns of the ANC and community members by this Wednesday and will present them to the selection panel. If members of the community want their questions addressed at the selection panel meeting by Jorgensen, send an email to dcbiz@dc.gov with a cc: to the ANC office@anc6d.org. The panel will make its recommendation to Deputy Mayor Albert by St. Patrick's Day. (The above rendering is an office building with ground-level retail on the corner of 6th & E Street planned by E Street Partners, from their presentation to the community on February 25th)

New Waterfront Station Website Launched

Thanks to reader Andrew for pointing out to me that the new Waterfront Station website has been updated with new information. The old website, however, is still active as of this posting. The new Waterfront Station website shows a map with the location of the new buildings in this multi-phased project (see above). Buildings in blue are office space, yellow buildings are residential, and ground floor retail space is shown in red. Phase one, which is currently under construction, comprises the two office buildings in the middle of the map, as well as ground-level retail in those buildings. The new urban concept Safeway and CVS will be in the East tower, which should be ready for occupancy by the second quarter of 2010. The Safeway will be closer to the Waterfront-SEU Metro station entrance, while CVS will be a little further north along the reopened 4th Street.

Update #1: A topping-off ceremony was held on Friday the 13th, according to this press advisory from DMPED. It was announced that the DC Government offices that will occupy the first phase of Waterfront Station will be the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, DCRA, and two other agencies I didn't know were moving there - the Department of Planning and DDOT.

Update #2: The project director from Vornado/Charles E. Smith tells Southwest...The Little Quadrant That Could that 4th Street should be reopened by the beginning of 2010.

National Marathon Route Changed

An alternate route for the Sun Trust National Marathon has been planned, since parts of 9th Street are closed due to construction. Read my post from last month about the changes needed in the route for the National Marathon, which takes place on Saturday, March 21st. See below for the updated marathon map.

Instead of crossing the 9th Street bridge into the SW Waterfront neighborhood, runners will take the I-395 South ramp (SE-SW Freeway) beyond the 9th Street tunnel and then take the Maine Avenue exit. Next, they will make a U-turn onto eastbound Maiden Lane (never heard of this street), then go southbound on 12th Street, which merges with Maine Avenue. Once the runners pass 9th Street, the marathon route returns to its original alignment along Maine Avenue. Representatives from the Greater Washington Sports Alliance will be at tonight's ANC 6D meeting to go over the changes with the commissioners.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

And the Winner* Is...

Proposal #3 received the most votes in our poll of which proposal is the best for the Engine 13 parcels. However, after monitoring the vote totals, it was pretty obvious that there was a ballot stuffing initiative where all but one of the final 130 votes were for proposal #3, which tipped the scales in this proposal's favor with 62% of the vote. Proposal #1 received 21% of the vote and Proposal #2 received 17%. DMPED has final say over which proposal will be chosen and representatives from the deputy mayor's office will be at tomorrow's ANC 6D monthly meeting to discuss the proposals. Here's the link for the agenda.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Don't Forget to Vote!

Vote for your favorite proposal for the Engine 13 parcels by using the poll on the top left hand side of this blog. Here is a link to my post from last week with a description of each of the proposals as well as a link to DMPED's website with PDFs of the proposals that were presented at last Wednesday's meeting. The poll will remain open until Friday at 5pm. The results are non-binding, since DMPED has final say over who will be awarded the parcels, but they will be shared with the project director at DMPED in charge of the Engine 13 RFP. (The Google Earth map shows the location of the two parcels up for bid by DMPED)

Monday, March 2, 2009

SW Zoning Study to Start Later This Month

After the original start date of the SW Zoning Study came and went, word is out via the MidCity-Waterfront Newsletter from the Office of Planning that the zoning study will now begin this spring. Take a look at my post from last July to get a recap of what the zoning study will cover, but basically it will take a proactive approach to zoning so future development in the area will better serve the needs of the neighborhood.