Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Graduation Could be the Last at SEU

Yesterday, the Washington Post had an article about the graduation ceremony for Southeastern University students, which was held yesterday at Constitution Hall in Northwest. However, the University could lose its accreditation in September, as mentioned in a prior post, so the school will either close, or merge with another institution. From the Post article:
According to the [Middle States Commission on Higher Education's] report, 14 percent of first-time students seeking bachelor's degrees there graduate within six years. Southeastern officials have been hoping to merge with the GS Graduate School, which provides continuing education to more than 200,000 students a year. [Interim President Elaine] Ryan has said she can't talk about the potential merger because of a confidentiality agreement; officials at GS Graduate said they are examining Southeastern's finances and operations and might make a decision next month.
At one point, SEU was negotiating to merge with UDC, but now it looks like they may become a part of the GS Graduate School, which is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and has a campus near L'Enfant Plaza.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Additional Liens at Potomac Place Tower

In last week's Washington Business Journal (thanks for the tip, reader DavidSW), there was a brief article (subscribers only) about the troubles that developer Monument Realty has experienced with liens at Potomac Place Tower, a condo conversion project at 4th & G Street. From the article:
At the end of May, at least three contractors filed suit in D.C. Superior Court to enforce more than $1.3 million in mechanic’s liens the contractors filed against the last of three condominium buildings Monument is building at [Potomac Place] near the Southwest waterfront.
Back in December, Southwest...TLQTC first reported on a lien placed on the condo building by general contractor Dietze Construction. (Above is a photo of Potomac Place Tower taken in December 2008)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scenes From Southwest

The fountains at Town Center Park were operational again when this photo was taken on June 16th and the grass has been cut. Earlier this month, standing water in the pond and poorly maintained grounds were causing a health hazard (i.e. mosquitos). See these two posts from Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells' blog for more background on the transfer of the park from NPS to DPR and the resulting deferred maintenance.

This photo was taken on Friday morning. Construction continues along the soon-to-be-opened 4th Street next to Waterfront Station. It was a little difficult to get around, since jersey barriers have been erected on the northern edge of M Street from the 4th Street intersection to the Bank of America trailer. Also visible in this photo is the East Tower of Waterfront Station, which is a little less further along in construction than the West Tower.

This photo was taken on June 7th. Bike lanes have been installed by DDOT on both sides of I Street between 6th Street and 3rd Street.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Capitol Skyline Hotel Pool Featured in WaPo

In Sunday's Washington Post (and reported on JDLand), there was an article about the reopening of the pool deck at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, located at 10 Half Street. The article gives a history of the hotel, which was opened in 1962 and designed in South Beach-style architecture by Morris Lapidus. Most recently, it was a Best Western flagged hotel, but the Rubell family (of Studio 54 fame) bought the hotel in 2002 and recently started some major renovations, including the pool area. Earlier this year, the Best Western brand was dropped from the hotel and it was renamed Capitol Skyline Hotel. Since the pool reopened last month, several events have been held there, including pool parties every Sunday. The hotel has hooked up with Spike Mendelsohn, the former Top Chef contestant and proprietor of Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill, to grill up hamburgers poolside on Sundays. On Spike'd Sundays, for $10, you gain admittance to the pool, with DJ Butter mixing some beats, and receive a free cheeseburger. According to an article in June's Hill Rag magazine, other events at the pool include a Pool Boy Party on Thursday evenings from 4-9 pm with DJ TMY, and on Fridays there are young professional mixers from 5-10 pm. I haven't been to the pool deck yet, but I'll have to check out this new neighborhood "hot spot" sometime this summer. Has anyone been to any of the pool parties so far, and if so, how were they?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Arena Stage Gets Critiqued

The ArchiCritic over at DC Metrocentric made a return visit to Southwest, after writing about Tiber Island a few weeks ago. This time, he decided to critique the new Arena Stage, which is under construction at the corner of 6th Street and Maine Avenue. Here's a link to his critique. His preference would be for the concrete and truss structure that is currently visible to remain, instead of being covered up with glass, cladding, and a canopy. I'm really excited about this project and how it will lead passersby from the Metro towards the SW Waterfront. I don't think there's a building in DC that's quite like it. My favorite part of the building so far are the wood columns that support the roof structure - it brings a natural element to the project. Here's a link to a YouTube video that gives a hard hat tour of the new Arena Stage by Bing Thom, the Canadian architect of the project. The structure should be enclosed in glass by this fall, and afterwards, the interior finishing touches can be made. The new Arena Stage is supposed to be ready for performances by Fall 2010 and I plan on being there for opening night! (Above is a photo of construction along the Maine Avenue elevation of Arena Stage, which was taken this past Sunday).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shooting at Holocaust Museum

The blogger.com website has been down all day, so I wasn’t able to post a link to the story that has made national news – the shooting at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday afternoon, where museum guard Stephen Johns was killed. The museum is located at 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, just south of the National Mall, and has been open since 1993. Here are a few links from The Washington Post, NBC 4, Fox 5, and CNN. The museum will remain closed tomorrow in honor of Stephen Johns.

Update: Suspected shooter James W. von Brunn is still too ill to appear in court, according to an article in The Washington Post. von Brunn was shot in the face by security guards after he was suspected of fatally shooting guard Stephen Johns and is currently being treated at United Medical Center in Southeast.

Update #2: A hearing is scheduled for von Brunn on June 30th, according to an article in The Washington Times.

Update #3: The June 30th hearing was postponed until July 10th, because von Brunn still can't leave the hospital, according to an article in The Washington Post.

Update #4: According to The Washington Post, Von Brunn is still unable to appear in court, so his hearing has been postponed again until July 30th.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pizza Autentica Opens

Pizza Autentica officially opened for business on Sunday morning. As I mentioned on Friday, the pizzeria will be open seven days a week until 10PM. Earlier this evening, I stopped by for some pizza and took some photos. According to one of the employees, business was a little slow on Sunday, but things were much busier today. Pizza Autentica is located on the northeast corner of 7th & D Street at the ground floor of The Reporters Building. Below are a couple exterior and interior shots of the restaurant.

Here is an exterior shot of the pizzeria. There is outdoor seating available for patrons. I drove by the restaurant on three occasions today and each time I saw people using the outdoor seating.

There is no seating inside of the restaurant, but the interior was nicely done with a modern design. The pizza was pretty good too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Emelina Sighting

While I was enjoying a beautiful evening at Cantina Marina on the Southwest waterfront today, I spotted a large yacht traveling south on the Washington Channel called the Emelina. According to the Emelina's website, the yacht is a massive 167 feet long and was made in Italy less than a year ago. Does anyone know who owns it? Last summer, I saw an even larger yacht in the channel called Seafair, which is an exposition yacht. (Above is a photo of the Emelina yacht, taken from Cantina Marina this evening with my new camera).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Road Closures, Pizza Autentica About to Open

- On Saturday, via a traffic advisory from DDOT, the following roads will be closed for parts of the day for the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure.

This event is scheduled to begin at 7:50 a.m. and conclude at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2009. The race will form on the National Mall and will then proceed over the following route:

  • North on 4th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  • West on Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • West on Constitution Avenue to Virginia Avenue, NW
  • Northwest on Virginia Avenue to 18th Street, NW
  • North on 18th Street to C Street, NW
  • West on C Street to 19th Street, NW
  • South on 19th Street to Constitution Avenue, NW
  • East on Constitution Avenue to 15th Street, NW
  • South on 15th Street to Jefferson Drive, SW
  • East on Jefferson Drive to 7th Street, SW
  • South on 7th Street to Independence Avenue, SW
  • East on Independence Avenue, SW to Maryland Avenue where the runners will cross the finish line

There will be temporary road closures along the race route until all of the participants have cleared the area. In addition, the following streets will be closed:

  • 3rd Street between independence Avenue, SW and Constitution Avenue, NW, from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m.
  • 4th Street between independence Avenue, SW and Constitution Avenue, NW, from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m.
  • Independence Avenue, SW between 3rd and 7th Streets, from 5 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m.
- On Sunday, also via a traffic advisory from DDOT, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge will be closed from 4AM to 9AM (an hour earlier than normal) for the monthly testing of the swing span.

- I noticed today that Pizza Autentica is getting close to open at the Reporters Building, located at 300 7th Street. There were workers inside putting final touches on the new restaurant, which is scheduled to open either on Sunday or Monday. Noting the fact that the pizzeria could have its grand opening on Sunday, it's great news to find out that the restaurant will be open 7 days a week! Here are their hours of operation:
Monday - Friday: 7AM - 10PM
Saturday - Sunday: 11AM - 10PM
Not only will the restaurant be open 7 days a week, it will be open for dinner, so local residents will have a place to grab some food in the evening. The menu includes pizza, calzones, salads, paninis, and breakfast items.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Southwest...The Little Quadrant That Could Turns One!

Today is the one year anniversary of the creation of my blog - Southwest...The Little Quadrant That Could, a blog dedicated to the good, the bad, and the ugly in Southwest, the smallest quadrant in the District of Columbia. My very first post from a year ago had to do with the redevelopment of FEMS Engine 13 and a second vacant parcel on the corner of 4th & E Street. Since then, I've written more than 170 posts - tracking several development projects in the neighborhood, including Waterfront Station, the Southwest Waterfront, the new Arena Stage, Constitution Center, and the Consolidated Forensics Laboratory, just to name a few. While primarily writing about development, I've also written posts about other neighborhood issues, like crime, road construction, and the need for a BID.

In other news, I noticed yesterday that Waterfront Station banners have gone up along the construction fence at the intersection of 4th & I Street, where in a few months, 4th Street will run through the old Waterside Mall site for the first time in over 30 years. Also, I saw a Shuttle Bug bus decorated with colorful advertisements for Waterfront Station. Unfortunately, I didn't get my camera back from the cab I was riding a couple weeks ago, so I haven't been able to take photos recently. A new camera has been ordered, so I'll be taking new photos hopefully by next week!

Monday, June 1, 2009

CFL Update

The Consolidated Forensics Laboratory (CFL) is closer to reality now that several milestones have occurred. MPD moved into their new District 1 HQ building at the former Bowen Elementary School in April. Then, on May 6th, Mayor Fenty announced that Whiting-Turner was selected as the contractor for design-build services for construction of the CFL, worth $148 million. Demolition of the old 1D HQ can start once the contract is approved by the D.C. Council, which could happen as soon as next month. On May 19th, the D.C. Council held a round table on the proposed contract. A vote could happen at the Council's June 2 meeting. Take a look at my post from June 2008 for more details on the CFL and the following link shows what green features will be offered. (Above is a rendering of the new CFL, which will be located at the NW corner of 4th and E Street, from the CFL website)

Update: There's an article in yesterday's Washington Examiner that states Mayor Fenty has withdrawn the Whiting-Turner contract after an appeals court ruled the Mayor skirted city contracting laws when awarding the CFL construction contract to the firm. This latest development may stall construction of the CFL, which was supposed to get underway this spring.