Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NCPC to Take Up Several SW-Related Items Tomorrow

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) will have their monthly meeting tomorrow afternoon and several of their agenda items are for projects located in Southwest. One of those projects is the District of Columbia War Memorial, which is located in West Potomac Park and is dedicated to District residents that fought in World War I. The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking approval for renovations. Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the NPS received $7.3 million for repairs last April, but back then, the renovation was supposed to be completed by September of this year. The Commission is expected to approve final site and building plans for the memorial.

In addition, the NCPC is set to approve the replacement of the roof and window sashes at the Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall. The Arts and Industries Building is currently vacant, but these improvements, along with other restorative work that's currently underway, are necessary to maintain the 100+ year-old structure as a new use is determined for it by the Smithsonian Institution.

The DC Zoning Commission is requesting that zoning rules be changed so that development of District-funded affordable housing or as part of an approved New Community plan can achieve the maximum allowable Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and building height in a Transferable Development Rights (TDR) Receiving Zone through a special exception by the Zoning Commission. Parts of the Federal Center SW area are in the receiving zones, so higher-density development would be permitted in this part of the city under the rule change. The NCPC will most likely approve this change as well.

An agenda item that has city-wide ramifications is the CapitalSpace plan, which seeks to improve the quality of park space around the city, from pocket parks to squares & circles to the fort parks. As a part of this plan, one of the case studies in the draft plan was Lansburg Park. However, it appears that the Lansburg Park plan was omitted from the final draft.

Also on the agenda is to consider plans that were released in December by the Hirshhorn Museum to provide a 145-foot temporary inflatable structure in the museum's courtyard in May and October starting in 2011. It looks like the NCPC likes the overall concept, but has some outstanding issues that need to be addressed, including ADA accessibility and views along the Mall.

One item on the agenda that the NCPC isn't too pleased about is a plan to construct an administrative building and warehouse at the Naval Support Facility Anacostia, which is next to Bolling Air Force Base. Before the plans are approved, the NCPC wants to be sure that views to and from the new U.S. Coast Guard headquarters at St. Elizabeths aren't blocked by the planned buildings.

Food Cart Arrives at Waterfront Station

Thanks to a tip from reader Andrew, I can report that a food cart has been set up at the corner of 4th & M Street, which should provide a quick bite to eat for office workers at Waterfront Station. I haven't had a chance to go by the intersection yet, so can someone tell me if the food cart is one of those green vehicles, or is it a traditional metal cart that you would find near the National Mall? I noticed a few weeks ago another food cart has been placed in front of Constitution Center during working hours. As was mentioned last week, a Subway will open at Waterfront Station by the end of July.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What Bloggers Are Saying About Southwest

- JDLand tweets about an article in the Navy Times, which describes efforts to bring the Navy Museum to the Southwest Waterfront, although the Navy itself isn't on board yet. Back in January, Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells voiced his support for the move in a letter to Navy Admiral Gary Roughead.

- Over on DCMud, there's a post about the continued space needs of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), even though their headquarters is being moved to St. Elizabeths in SE. The U.S. Coast Guard, which currently resides in Buzzard Point, will be one of the first agencies to make the move to St. Elizabeths, as their new headquarters is currently under construction. According to the DCMud post, the GSA will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for 1.1 million square feet of space to suit the needs of DHS. Constitution Center has 1.2 million square feet of empty space in a highly secure environment, so that complex is an obvious candidate for the RFP, but the space needs don't necessarily have to be filled in one building.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Design Concept Selected for Eisenhower Square

The Washington Post reports that the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission met today to select a design concept for Eisenhower Square, the name of the memorial planned across from the National Air & Space Museum for President Eisenhower. The article gives a brief description of the selected design concept:

The commission chose the most elaborate of the designs, with a central grove and columns on the north and south sides, plus a "tapestry" of woven stainless steel mesh.

Back in January, the Commission selected Gilbane Building Company to oversee the design and construction of the memorial, which will be designed by famed LA architect Frank Gehry. The Commission will present their selection to the National Capital Planning Commission at their next meeting on April 1. Hopefully I can get a rendering of the design concept soon to include with this post.

Update: The Post has another article about the memorial that includes a rendering and gives more details about the plans. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Instead, Gehry has proposed closing off a newly defined square defined by the intersection of Independence and Maryland avenues and Fourth and Sixth streets SW. The north and south sides of "Eisenhower Square" will be [lined] by huge limestone columns, the interior filled with a grove of large oaks and a semicircular space made of a rough assemblage of monolithic stone blocks. There will also be carvings and inscriptions and a service building. But the most intriguing and potentially most problematic element of the design are three huge tapestries, made of woven metal. Preliminary models show one tapestry running along almost the full height and length of the north face of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building. That could limit light and affect sightlines for workers who once had views to the Mall. Gehry, who attended the commission's Capitol Hill news conference, said that the tapestry would be translucent and that it will stand 90 to 100 feet away from the Education Department building, which is essentially the width of a city street.
The memorial will close off Maryland Avenue, but sightlines to the Capitol will be maintained.

Update #2: Above is a rendering of the proposed memorial, from the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

Update #3: DCist and Greater Greater Washington have posts about the memorial, along with more renderings.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CityZen Pastry Chef Nominated for RAMMY; Sou'Wester Reviewed in Hill Rag

The nominees for the 2010 RAMMY Awards, given by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, have been released and one of the nominees for Best Pastry Chef is Amanda Cook at CityZen, one of the restaurants at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This year's RAMMY's will take place on June 6th at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Northwest.

Another restaurant at the hotel - Sou'Wester, which has been open for about six months, was reviewed in March's Hill Rag in a piece called Sou'Wester Sparkles in Southwest. I have yet to visit this restaurant since I don't eat out very much for dinner, but I'm adding it to my list. Have any of you eaten at Sou'Wester? How is the food?

Subway...Eat Fresh!

Subway is on its way to 1101 4th Street (West Tower) at Waterfront Station, according to Gordon Fraley, Senior Development Manager at Vornado/Charles E Smith. This is the first food establishment to officially sign a lease at the project, although the developer is in negotiations with a burger joint and a sit-down restaurant. There are already three Subway restaurants within a one-mile radius of Waterfront Station, so cannibalization isn't exactly a concern for the chain. The Subway lease was signed earlier this month and the restaurant should be open by the end of July.

Monday, March 22, 2010

DDOT to Install Speed Bumps Near Greenleaf Rec Center

At 9am this morning, according to an email from the Office of Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells, the Council member will be in attendance to oversee the installation of speed bumps along Canal Street in front of Greenleaf Recreation Center. DDOT will also be installing four-way stop signs at Delaware Avenue & Canal Street.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

4th Street Close to Completion

Over the past few days, 4th Street has been getting closer to completion, with road crews taking advantage of the warmer weather to lay the final layer of asphalt on the street and repairing intersections. Currently, the road is only open to DC government tenants at Waterfront Station and their guests. That could change soon, as the stretch of road between I Street and M Street now has lane markings and appears to be mostly complete. As of Saturday night, though, when I walked home from the Waterfront-SEU Metro, the new streetlights at the intersection of 4th & I Street haven't been turned on yet. The street has been designed to help calm traffic in an area that will experience high pedestrian traffic. There are bike lanes on both sides of 4th Street and one car lane in each direction. The road has a slight curve to it and sidewalks are wide, with park benches lining the street.

Above is a photo of road crews laying the final layer of asphalt in front of 1100 4th Street.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Things to Do and Avoid This Weekend

  • WeLoveDC via DCist reports that Cantina Marina’s outdoor deck will be open this weekend because of the beautiful spring weather we’re experiencing.
  • Kites of Asia will be taking place at the National Air and Space Museum on Saturday (the event is indoors, but it’s free!).
  • The SunTrust National Marathon will make its way through Southwest on Saturday, causing certain street closures. Check out their website for a list of closures.
  • DDOT will be closing the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge from 4am – 9am on Sunday to test the swing span.

Update: DDOT has announced there will be a detour route for Circulator service during the marathon on Saturday. Here's a link describing the detour route.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

FRESHFARM Market Coming to HHS

On my morning run along the National Mall yesterday, I noticed there was a small vegetable stand set up in front of the Health & Human Services (HHS) headquarters building at 200 Independence Avenue. Then, I read in the Washington Business Journal’s Top Shelf Blog that starting on June 2, a FRESHFARM Market will arrive at HHS, the first FRESHFARM Market to open in Southwest, although other farmers markets in the area have operated at the former DOT headquarters (now Constitution Center) and the USDA Parking Lot at 12th & Independence Avenue. The FRESHFARM Markets’ Mission Statement, according to their website, is the following:
FRESHFARM Markets strives to build and strengthen the local food movement in the Chesapeake Bay region. We use our markets to create vibrant urban and community places, to provide economic opportunities for farmers and to showcase our region's agricultural bounty. We aim to create a sustainable urban-rural partnership that brings the blessings of healthy local food to our communities and sustains the working landscapes that feed us.
The HHS FRESHFARM Market will be run in collaboration with FedStrive, a new comprehensive health & wellness program initiated by the department of Federal Occupational Health (FOH) that’s being tested on HHS employees. According to an interview done by Corporate Wellness Magazine of FOH Director Dr. Gene Migliaccio last month, FedStrive hopes to achieve the following:
FedStrive hopes to bring a take charge approach to health, wellness, and work/life balance. Putting an emphasis on statements like “I want to be ____,” Federal employees are encouraged to fill in the blank and strive to accomplish their personal wellness goals. To help maintain momentum, the FedStrive program will also offer incentives to HHS Federal employees in the form of free Fitness Center memberships or other non-cash incentives.
The HHS FRESHFARM Market will operate on Wednesdays from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm and will run until October 27th.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fences Come Down!

As of yesterday, pedestrians can now freely walk up and down 4th Street and access the Waterfront-SEU Metro station from north of I Street. Direct pedestrian access to the Metro from the north has been blocked since November 2007, when the Waterside Mall was demolished to make way for Waterfront Station. As I was driving west on M Street this morning, I noticed the traffic light at the corner of 4th & M Street has a green arrow pointing to the right, which gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. It’s the little things that make my day better like having a more direct route home by car or by foot. As a matter of fact, I will start using the Waterfront-SEU Metro more often now if I'm travelling to a Green Line destination instead of walking to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro. The actual street surface on 4th is still not complete, so only DC government employees and guests are currently allowed to drive on the street. However, 4th Street is scheduled to open to all vehicular traffic by the end of the month.

Update: Reader Andrew says that park benches are being installed today near the intersection of 4th & I Street.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Safeway to Provide Shuttle Service During Closure

According to the Office of Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, Safeway will be providing shuttle service to customers during their closure in April. Here is the email sent by Naomi Mitchell from Wells' office:

We have been advised by Safeway that they will be providing a shuttle service between the M St. SW store and its 14th and Kentucky Ave SE store during some portion of the 8 days its SW store will be closed. The leadership of the ANC6D is coordinating the details of dates, times and pick-up locations. Safeway will be announcing its plans shortly.

Naomi Mitchell
Community Relations
Office of Councilmember Tommy Wells
Ward 6
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 408
Washington, DC 20004
Office: 202-724-8014
Fax: 202-724-8054

Once more details are released, I'll be sure to pass along.

Update: ANC 6D Commissioner Sobelsohn passed along some additional information about Safeway. He said that representatives from ANC 6D, SWNA, the Southwest Safeway Task Force, and the Southwest Action Team (SWAT) were able to convince Safeway to offer free shuttle service using a 20-seat bus on Friday, April 9th, Saturday, April 10th, and Monday, April 12th.
The shuttle will leave from in front of the current Safeway on the following schedule:
  • Friday April 9: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm
  • Saturday April 10: 11am, 12pm, 1pm
  • Monday April 12: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm
The shuttle will leave from the Kentucky Ave. SE supermarket on the following schedule:
  • Friday April 9: 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm
  • Saturday April 10: 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm
  • Monday April 12: 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm
The old Safeway will close on April 6th at 6pm and the new Safeway will open for a Preview Party on April 15th from 4pm - 8pm. The new store will open on the 16th from 8am - 11pm and thereafter, the store will be open from 6am - 11pm 7 days a week. For comparison purposes, the new(ish) Mount Vernon Triangle Safeway is open until midnight and the "Social Safeway" in Georgetown that's reopening in May after a complete renovation will be open 24 hours.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Stroll Down 4th Street

This afternoon, I took a stroll down the soon-to-be opened 4th Street and despite the cloudy skies, I took some photos. The roadway has not received the final layer of asphalt yet, so when DCRA opens their office space at Waterfront Station tomorrow, the road will only be open to tenants and guests. Once the sun decides to come back out next week, I'll take some more of the area, but in the meantime, these cloudy images will have to do. Above is a photo of the 4th Street corridor looking south towards M Street and the Waterfront-SEU Metro station.

This is 1100 4th Street (East Tower). The retail space covered in blue is where CVS will be located; the green retail spot hasn't been filled yet and the orange space is where Safeway will open.

Here is a close-up of the CVS space, which is supposed to open in late May or early June.

Workers were busy working inside the new Safeway at the base floor of 1100 4th Street and a quick peek inside shows the neon glow of the Starbucks sign at one of the store entrances.

This is the entrance to Safeway that's closest to the Waterfront-SEU Metro entrance. The shared wall between the new and old Safeway stores is visible.

The parking garage for Safeway is off of 4th Street. With a minimum $8 purchase at Safeway, parking will be validated for 90 minutes.

Here is a view of part of the Metro plaza, which is still under construction.

This is 1101 4th Street (West Tower). The lobbies of each of the office buildings have a large map showing Pierre L'Enfant's plan for the city, which seems appropriate since the reopening of 4th Street restores part of the vision L'Enfant had for the Southwest quadrant of the District.

This corner retail spot at 1101 4th Street will most likely be where the 4,000 square foot restaurant planned by Med Lahlou will be located. There is space for outdoor seating and will be a good spot for people-watching right across from the Metro entrance.

The parking garage for the West Tower tenants is located in the rear of the building.

Spirit of the Pearl Makes its Way to the SW Waterfront

In Sunday's The Washington Post, there's an article about The Pearl Coalition, an organization that wants to help tell the story of The Pearl, a 65-foot Chesapeake Bay Schooner that was chartered by free blacks in a failed attempt in 1848 to transport slaves to freedom from the District. The Pearl Coalition is in the process of rebuilding The Spirit of the Pearl, a replica schooner that will soon make the journey from El Salvador to the Southwest Waterfront. According to The Pearl Coalition's website, some of the educational programs planned around the Spirit of the Pearl include:
  • Green Jobs
  • Workforce Development
  • Shipbuilding and Carpentry Apprenticeship Program
  • Tour Guides (The Pearl Underground Railroad)
  • Media Arts Program
  • African American/ DC, Maryland and Virginia History Education Curriculum (School Literacy Focused Programming)
  • Volunteer Coordination
The Pearl Coalition has raised half of the $300,000 necessary to complete repairs of the vessel before moving it to DC. Their goal was to have the ship brought to the Southwest Waterfront by April 15th, the anniversary of the escape. As a part of the redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront by the Hoffman-Struever team, a cultural use must be included. Another cultural use under consideration by the development team is a Navy Museum. Above is a rendering of the redeveloped Southwest Waterfront, which includes a schooner, from the Southwest Waterfront website.

Coastal Flood Warning Issued for DC

The following message was sent by AlertDC:
The National Weather Service has issued a Coastal Flood Warning, effective until 1PM Monday. Water levels on the tidal Potomac River near D.C. are currently running 4 feet above normal. With freshwater runoff from recent rains & melting snow arriving from upriver tonight and tomorrow, moderate flooding is expected near the river during times of high tide over the next couple days. Next high tides at appx. 8:45PM, 9:00AM Mon, 9:20PM Mon. During this period, please stay clear of the Potomac & Anacostia rivers, as well as areas right near their banks.
Expect low-lying areas of Southwest to experience flooding like Haines Point, the Fish Market, and some residential areas.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Announcement Regarding DC Government Tenants Moving to Waterfront Station

According to a press release from DDOT:
The District Department of Transportation Public Space Permit Branch is moving from its current location at 941 North Capitol Street, NE to 1100 4th Street, SW. The new location is on top of the Waterfront-SEU Metro Station on the Green Line. The Public Space Office is moving simultaneously with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) who also recently announced their relocation. The move will take place on Friday, March 19, 2010, and as such the Public Space Permit Branch will be closed for the day and again on Monday morning. The Permit Center at the new location will be located on the 2nd floor with the Permit Branch Offices located on the 3rd floor. Regularly scheduled hours of operation will resume Monday, March 22 at noon.

New Location:
District Department of Transportation
Planning Policy and Sustainability Administration
Public Space Permit Branch
Third Floor
1100 4th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20004
202-535-2982, phone

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

M Street Redesign Discussed Last Night

Last night, I attended a meeting hosted by Council member Tommy Wells that discussed possible changes for M Street using the Complete Streets concept, which is defined as a street that's safe, comfortable, & convenient for travel by automobile, foot, bicycle, & transit regardless of age or ability. Greater Greater Washington and JDLand have good summaries of the meeting, so there's no need for me to repeat what has already been written, but basically, the Council member is interested in improving sidewalks and placing concrete-like cycle tracks along M Street from 11th Street, SE to Maine Avenue, which would remove one lane of M Street in each direction and serve as a traffic calming measure along this busy stretch of road. These changes would get people (commuters) used to less traffic lanes for when streetcars eventually make their way to M Street and give bicyclists refuge from cars. With 10,000 residential units planned and 25,000 employees projected to make their way to the M Street SE/SW corridor upon full build-out (a mid-sized city as Wells put it), a holistic approach needs to be taken to address inadequacies along M Street. There was trepidation from some ANC 6D commissioners and other members of the audience about losing a lane of traffic in each direction, but there were others who were excited about the changes. Generally, people are afraid of change, especially in an area of the city that's seeing a lot of change, so perhaps a less permanent solution should be used for a trial period to see if these improvements could work on M Street. If it works, then make the changes permanent, otherwise, the road can be easily converted back to its current state and another solution can be explored. At any event, I think the status quo on M Street shouldn't be maintained because the road now acts more like a highway than an urban street. Above is a photo of the Maine Avenue corridor.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Northrop Grumman Tax Incentive Deal Unraveling?

The Washington Post reports that support for legislation to lure Northrop Grumman to the District is declining among members of the DC Council. The Global Security and Aerospace Industry Tax Abatement Act, which was introduced in the Council last month, would give Grumman a $25 million incentive package, if they move their headquarters to the District and hire at least 250 DC residents. The sites under consideration by the company are the Engine 13 sites at 4th & E Streets and 6th & E Streets that E Street Development was awarded last April. Having a Fortune 100 company like Northrop Grumman locate their headquarters at the project might have brought other contractors to the area and help fill in vacant office and retail space nearby. A decision on where in the metro area the company plans to relocate will be made by the end of March or April.

Update: The Washington Business Journal has an article describing opposition to the incentive package by small businesses in the city.

Monday, March 8, 2010

4th Street May Open to Pedestrians by Next Week

At tonight's ANC 6D's monthly business meeting, several details were revealed about what's going on at Waterfront Station. For one, 4th Street may open for pedestrians by next week, as well as vehicle access for employees of the office buildings at the development, who will start moving in their space on Friday. There are some final details that need to be taken care of before the road can open to the general public, which will most likely happen by the end of March. At that time, there will be about 900 employees working in their buildings and by the end of April or early May, there will be about 1,500 employees. Work is well underway on the Metro plaza, which will be over 30,000 square feet and will have benches, trees, fountains, and lighting. Above is a photo of the Metro plaza under construction.

The old Safeway will close on April 6th and the new 55,000 square foot store will open on April 16th. From March 23rd until April 6th, all items in the old store will be 30% off. On April 15th - a day before the grand opening, there will be a preview party at the new Safeway from 4-8pm. Parking will be validated at the new Safeway for 90 minutes in the parking garage beneath the store with a minimum purchase of $8 (note the Mount Vernon Triangle store has a minimum purchase of only $5). A new store manager has been brought in and 22 out of 45 employees that have been hired so far live in the 20024 ZIP code. Once the old Safeway is closed, the year-long demolition process will begin. Above is a photo of the facade of the new Safeway along 4th Street, along with a construction worker's jacket.

Other tenants at phase one of Waterfront Station include CVS, which will open a 12,500 square foot store on the northern corner of the East Tower in late May or early June. A sandwich shop signed a lease today (my guess is it's a Subway), a burger place is close to signing a lease, as well as a 4,000 square foot sit-down restaurant and a dry cleaners. These retailers will be located in the West Tower (the restaurant will locate in a prime spot on the south side of the building with plenty of outdoor space) and should open by late summer or early fall. Bank of America will not be moving to Waterfront Station and will vacate their trailer when their lease expires in December 2012, if not sooner, if they find another location in the area before that time. Waterfront Associates is looking for another bank to take Bank of America's place in the development. The parcels that will be a part of phase two of development will be graded and grassed over until financing is available to build. Above is a photo of the northwest portion of the site where a residential building is planned in a future phase of development.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Upcoming Meetings This Week

- ANC 6D's monthly business meeting will be held on Monday at 7pm at the Courtyard by Marriott located at New Jersey Avenue & L Street, SE. The agenda can be found here, which includes updates on the Flood Insurance program, the new Safeway, Waterfront Station, Arena Stage's parking situation, local races, and the sale of the Randall School.

- Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, along with ANC 6D and SWNA, is hosting a neighborhood meeting to discuss how Southwest and near Southeast neighborhoods can make safety improvements to M Street through what’s known as a “complete street.” Wells' office defines a complete street as: a term of art for planning and renovating streets to reduce the number and speed of cars on the roadways, provide better pedestrian safety and access, and support alternate means of travel that connects neighborhoods. The meeting will take place on Tuesday from 6-7:30 pm at MPD's 1st District headquarters, located at 101 M Street.

Friday, March 5, 2010

NCPC Approves Design for C Street Renovation

A press release from the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) states the following about the renovation of 200 C Street:
...the Commission approved preliminary and final site development plans for site improvements and perimeter security for Federal Office Building 8 located at 200 C Street, SW. The General Services Administration (GSA) plans to convert the Modernist-style building—constructed in 1965 as laboratory space for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—into office space primarily for staff of the Legislative Branch. At its January 2010 meeting, NCPC approved preliminary and final building plans for the building’s renovation. The plans propose to transform an existing surface parking lot located along C Street into a landscaped plaza that would provide an entry forecourt into the building. The plans also call for using hardened street furnishings as perimeter security elements around the building’s four sides. These furnishings include benches, bike racks, bollards, streetlights, garden walls, newspaper boxes, and trash receptacles. The perimeter security plan presented today responded to previously unfavorable comments made by the Commission at its October 2007 meeting. The Commission noted that GSA worked with NCPC staff and with other federal and local agencies to ensure that the new perimeter security elements will be successfully incorporated into the urban landscape with little impact on the surrounding public space.
Several office buildings in the Southwest Federal Center area have parking lots in front of them, which looks terrible and takes away from the urban fabric of a city, so it will be nice to see one of these parking lots removed. The WBJ reports that the building will seek LEED-Gold certification and will be completed by October 2012. Below is a description of some of the elements of the exterior renovation, from the WBJ article:

The landscaped plaza will result in a 43-percent reduction in impervious surfaces north of the building, and the proposed plan increases the number of street trees from 15 to 35. The site will also accommodate storage for 100 bikes. Proposed perimeter security elements include steel bollards that are mostly made of recycled content.
It's supposed to be a nice weekend, so I plan on taking some photos around the neighborhood, including 200 C Street. Above is a rendering of the renovated building, from the WBJ website.

Update: Below is a photo of the 200 C Street building.

Patriots Plaza II Gets Tenant

The Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) is reporting that about 800 FBI employees will be moving to 180,000 SF of space at phase II of Patriots Plaza, a 351,502 SF office building that delivered last fall on E Street. With this lease, the building is now slightly over half leased and neighboring Patriots Plaza III is mostly full, since back in November, it was announced that the USDA will move to that building. An interesting part of the article has to do with Constitution Center, which wasn't in the running for this lease from the GSA, because they have higher ambitions...from the article:

“Constitution Center has expressed strong interest in becoming the new FBI headquarters facility, with all 1,400,000 square feet being utilized by the FBI,” said Robert Hines, managing director at Cassidy Turley, who is marketing the building. While the Hoover Building’s size and design is widely shunned, it’s not clear if the FBI will ever entertain moving into a secure building in another location, freeing up the redevelopment of the existing Hoover site.

I'm sure the folks over at Penn Quarter Living would be thrilled if the FBI made the move so that prime site on Pennsylvania Avenue, NW could be redeveloped. Above is a photo of Patriots Plaza II that was taken back in September when construction was wrapping up.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

SEU Campus News

I'm passing along word I just received from ANC 6D Commissioner David Sobelsohn:

I have it on good authority that the Graduate School has purchased the former home of Southeastern University at 501 I St., SW. Formerly associated with the US Department of Agriculture, the Graduate School is now an independent educational institution. It currently holds classes in the Capital Gallery, 600 Maryland Ave., SW. But for much of the year classrooms are full every day. They need more space.

When the Graduate School opens on I Street, the school hopes to continue Southeastern’s close relationship with the community. But my sources report that the Southeastern building would need enormous work to rehabilitate, and that the Graduate School considers it currently close to uninhabitable. The Graduate School has commissioned an engineering study of Southeastern & is considering its options, from renovation to demolition.

The Graduate School has been meeting with elected officials in DC & SW. It expects to make an official announcement by April.

David C. Sobelsohn
Commissioner, ANC 6D02
Secretary, ANC 6D
(202) 484-8303
There was speculation about a year ago that Southeastern would merge with the GS Graduate School when it was having difficulty maintaining its accreditation with the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. GS Graduate School: Tear the building down and start from scratch I say!

Update: Here's an article from The Washington Post about the merger.