Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Smithsonian Folklife Festival to Resume on Thursday

The 10-day Smithsonian Folklife Festival, held annually at the end of June and beginning of July along the National Mall, has wrapped up the first half of festivities. This year, the festival will include exhibits featuring Mexico, Asian Pacific Americans, and a tribute to Haiti. When the festival resumes on Thursday, it will run from 11am to 5:30pm each day until July 5th. For a schedule of events, take a look at the festival's website.

Monday, June 28, 2010

NCPC to Approve Final Plans for Veterans Memorial

At the National Capital Planning Commission's upcoming meeting on July 1st, it is expected that the agency will approve final site and building plans for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial (AVDLM), planned for the intersection of 2nd Street and Washington Avenue. The memorial is being built by the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation, Inc. and was designed by Michael Vergason, Landscape Architects, LTD. Currently, the two-acre site serves as a pathway between Capitol Hill and the SW Federal Center. The AVDLM will contain the following components: a star fountain with eternal flame, triangular reflecting pool, granite paving, stone and glass walls, sculptural elements, trees, landscaping, lighting, and parking on the south side of the site.

The glass walls planned at the memorial (also known as the Voices of Veterans) will include quotes of disabled veterans and seven images showing wounded and disabled soldiers and veterans and images of care givers. The "Wall of Gratitude" that will run along the middle of the memorial will contain quotations from George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower when they were generals. A full description of the components of the AVDLM can be found in NCPC's Staff Recommendation. Utility work is supposed to get started this summer, with construction of the memorial to begin in June 2011, and construction complete in mid-2012.

Images courtesy of the National Capital Planning Commission.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Worst Streets in Southwest

There were a couple posts this week on Greater Greater Washington where the author compiled a list of his 20 least favorite streets in DC. Streets in Southwest that made the list include: Water Street (#19), 4th Street (#13), Delaware Avenue (#6), and Chappie James Boulevard at Bolling Air Force Base (#3). I agree with the author that Water Street serves as a redundant street that runs parallel to Maine Avenue and he suggests the street should be removed & replaced with buildings fronting Maine Avenue. Well...that's exactly what's going to happen as a part of the redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront. Phase I, from 7th Street to 9th Street, is supposed to get underway by 2013. As far as 4th Street is concerned, I don't know why this street was on the list (and ranked higher than Water Street?). Most of 4th Street in the residential portion of Southwest has a great tree canopy and with the recent reopening of the street at Waterfront Station, it will have a more active street scape. Plus, 4th Street has bike lanes (the street north of I Street will get lane markings later this year). Delaware Avenue only runs for a few blocks in Southwest and dead-ends at a circle on H Street. Lansburg Park runs along Delaware, which needs some TLC. I've never been inside Bolling Air Force Base, so I can't comment on Chappie James Boulevard. Do you agree with his choices?

Above is a photo of Wheat Row on 4th Street, the oldest surviving row homes in DC.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Uncle Sam Jam Coming to the SW Waterfront

I've been meaning to post this for weeks now, but better late than never! Get ready for a big crowd to descend on the Southwest Waterfront on the 4th of July from 3-10 pm because there will be a large festival taking place called The Uncle Sam Jam. There will be four party areas and stages surrounding Zanzibar and Hogate's, with five bands, including Soul Asylum, Virginia Coalition, Full Effect, Back to Zero, and Mike Leverone Duo. In addition, there will be six DJs, including Flounder's Mash Ups, DJ Chris Styles, DJ Maskell, DJ Image, Chris Avalos, and DJ Ramzy. Food will be provided by Famous Dave's BBQ and DC Slices. General Admission tickets are currently $15 and VIP tickets are $50, but prices will increase closer to the event.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Arena Stage Hires Five Playwrights

According to The Washington Post, Arena Stage has hired five playwrights as they gear up for the reopening of the complex this fall. From the article:
Over the next three years, five playwrights will be part of Arena's American Voices New Play Institute, which was formed in August and financed by a $1.1 million gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The writers will be paid to write on any project they please during their three-year tenure, with the promise of a stage production and an additional pot of development money under their control.
Over the summer, the theater's staff will be moving into their new home so they will be ready to officially open the new theater complex by October 24th. At the top of this post is a view of the 6th Street frontage. Washington Globe street lights have been installed, similar to the ones that have appeared at Waterfront Station and Constitution Center. In addition, trees have been planted along 6th Street. Below are a few more photos of the progress made at Arena Stage.

(Left) Here is the main entrance to the theater on 6th Street.

(Right) The point on the cantilevered roof points towards the Washington Monument in the distance.

(Left) This a a view of the theater's frontage along Maine Avenue.

What Bloggers Are Saying About Southwest

- Urban Igloo interviewed the founders of UrbanTurf, a real estate blog in the Washington metro area. When asked which neighborhoods are considered to be DC's best kept secret, UrbanTurf responded:
For a more urban option, the “neglected” quadrant of Southwest is affordable (by DC standards) and very well located. It doesn’t have much in the way of bar and restaurant options, but it has two Metro stops, a shiny new Safeway, and the waterfront, Nationals Park, and the Mall are all within walking distance. It’s a great neighborhood for people who like the idea of having the hustle and bustle a short ride away, but enjoy coming home to a quiet neighborhood. Also, there are very big plans afoot for redeveloping Southwest, though they will take years to come to fruition.
- According to Greater Greater Washington, a Movie Solution DVD rental kiosk may come soon to L'Enfant Plaza Metro and an Old Town Trolley Tours ticket & information booth may arrive at the Smithsonian Metro. WMATA is looking for ways to earn additional revenue and has solicited bids to vendors to sell goods at Metro stations. If the WMATA board approves these proposals, the licenses will last eight years (will DVDs still exist in eight years?).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Station 4 to Open by January

It looks like we’ll have to wait about seven months for Station 4 to open, the new 4,000 square foot sit-down restaurant to be located at Waterfront Station. According to proprietor Med Lahlou, there will be enough seating for about 200 diners, including an outdoor patio and private room for events. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, as well as serve brunch on weekends. Station 4 will be in the southeast corner of the 1101 4th Street office building, next to Z-Burger.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Waterfront Station Update

I noticed yesterday that demolition has begun on the old Safeway at Waterfront Station on the back side of the building. Chairs have been added to the tables installed in front of the new Safeway, which are always in use whenever I walk by the store. Two large urns with plants have been placed at both entrances to the access road that crosses 4th Street between the Safeway and the Metro entrance. In addition, workers have removed the window coverings inside the new CVS, so passersby can now see the build-out underway inside, which should be complete this summer. The Washington Business Journal reported last week that CVS expects to expand grocery aisles in about 43% of their stores in 2010, so our new 12,543 square foot store will most likely have more food options than the trailer/older store at the old Waterside Mall. Over the weekend, I also noticed some graffiti on the 1100 4th Street building. I haven’t walked along 4th Street since Saturday, so I don’t know if the graffiti has been removed yet. It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, but I’ll have some updated photos of Waterfront Station and other neighborhood projects soon.

(Left) Chairs have been added to the tables set outside of Safeway.

(Right) Urns have beeen placed on the entryways to the access roads that have been built between the buildings at Waterfront Staion. This is a view looking east towardsd the Metro plaza.

(Left) Z-Burger will be opening in a corner space at the 1100 4th Street building.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Few Quick Items

- The Washington Post reports that the main MLK Memorial sculpture is stranded in China because the Greek government (who volunteered to ship the sculpture to DC for free) doesn't have enough money to do it due to its economic crisis.

- The third installment of the Transformers movie series may shoot part of the film on the National Mall, but the producers are running into resistance from the National Park Service, according to The Washington Post, because of the types of scenes they want to film, including a car race on the gravel paths along the Mall and simulated explosions on Independence Avenue.

- An unclaimed bag at C & 6th Street caused some street closures earlier this evening, according to The Washington Post, but by 8:15pm, C Street was reopened by MPD.

- The WashCycle complains there aren't enough bike parking spaces at Waterfront Station. Also, there was a complaint that there is no loading area in front of Safeway and cars are blocking the bike lane on 4th Street (umm...the loading area is in the garage).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Verizon FiOS Makes Debut in DC

Over the next six years, Verizon FiOS will be making its way to Southwest, according to the Washington Business Journal. Verizon just opened a FiOS store in Friendship Heights in anticipation of rolling out service citywide. From the article:
By next year, FiOS should be available in most of Ward 4 and all of Ward 3 in Northwest — including Friendship Heights — as well as in Barry Farm and historic Anacostia in Southeast and in Deanwood and eastern Capitol Hill in Northeast.

Verizon will add the Southwest Waterfront and Buzzard Point, most of Ward 1, Dupont and Logan circles, and Shaw within six years.

The final three-year phase will bring FiOS to Brookland, Congress Heights, downtown, Georgetown, midtown and Lincoln Heights.
Cable service is dominated in DC by Comcast, so introducing Verizon FiOS into the picture may improve Comcast's customer service, since they no longer will have a virtual monopoly in the city. Too bad sections of Southwest have to wait up to six years, while Bellevue residents have to wait even longer for service to reach our neighborhoods.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Missing Child Reported from Bellevue

The Washington Post reports that an 11-year old boy has been missing since Saturday. From the Post:
D.C. police were seeking assistance Sunday in finding an 11-year-old boy who went missing the day before in Southwest Washington.

Officers said Anthony Thomas was last seen in the 100 block of Ivanhoe Street SW about 3 p.m. Saturday. He is described as black with a light complexion, 5-foot-1 and about 110 pounds. He has brown eyes, black hair fashioned into a Mohawk and a thin build. He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and pants.

Anyone with information about the boy is urged to call police at 202-727-9099 or the youth investigations division at 202-576-6768.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

USDA Farmers Market Starts Friday

At market this week: strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, onions, radishes, Swiss chard, spinach, tomatoes, squash, new potatoes, honey, broccoli, cabbage, herbs, empanadas, breads, kettle corn, soap, plants and much more. Vendors include: Terrapin Station, Calvert Kettle Corn, C&T Produce, and Penn Farm.

The Little Quadrant That Could Turns Two Tomorrow!

In celebration of the second anniversary of Southwest...The Little Quadrant That Could, stop by Cantina Marina for a meet & greet happy hour on Friday from 6pm - 8pm. Be on the lookout for an anniversary (birthday) balloon so you'll know where at Cantina Marina we'll be hanging out. Hope to see you on Friday!

Update: Below are some photos from Friday's blog anniversary happy hour at Cantina Marina, courtesy of reader Drina's camera phone.

Clockwise (from upper left): (1) Readers Marvin and Drina. (2) Readers Kyle, Renee and Taylor. (3) SWill and readers Christine and Drina. (4) Readers Andy and Marvin.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

MLK Memorial Construction Camera Installed

A construction camera has been recently installed at the Washington, DC Martin Luther King National Memorial site, rising along the Tidal Basin. The memorial is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2011.

Retailers Officially Announced at Waterfront Station Presser

I wasn't able to make it to the press conference held this morning by Mayor Fenty and the developers of Waterfront Station, but below is the press release from Vornado/Charles E. Smith:

Waterfront Station Has Arrived

4th Street re-opened, DC Government moves into office buildings, and new neighborhood retail welcomes shoppers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today gathered with the project team and city officials to celebrate the opening of the first phase of Waterfront Station, a multi-phase, transit oriented, mixed-use project in Southwest DC, incorporating new street retail, two new office buildings, new public plazas, and the newly restored 4th Street.

Located at the Waterfront/SEU MetroRail station, right at 4th and M Streets, SW, Waterfront Station will ultimately consist of 1.2 million square feet of new office space, approximately 1,000 new residential units, underground parking and up to 140,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving specialty shops and services as well as
restaurants. The first phase includes a total of 628,000 square feet.

The project is being developed by Waterfront Associates, a joint venture between Forest City Washington, Inc., Bresler & Reiner, Inc. and Vornado/Charles E. Smith.

Mayor Adrian Fenty said today, “The opening of Waterfront Station marks a significant milestone for this community and for the District of Columbia. Here in the heart of Southwest, we’ve created a new hub of activity, transportation, shopping, and employment. The city was so committed to this neighborhood and this project, we made it our home.”

The District government is the project’s anchor tenant taking 500,000 square feet – or 100% of Phase One – across two office buildings at 1100 and 1101 4th Street, Southwest. The complex is now home to more than 1,600 District employees and consolidates the offices of various agencies that include: the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) and the Office of Planning. The new buildings offer a customer-friendly business service center for permitting and licensing. For District government operations, efficiencies are achieved through the merger of the Office of the Recorder of Deeds with its parent department, the Office of Tax and Revenue’s Real Property Tax Administration, and a connection between the Office of Revenue Analysis, the Office of Economic Development and the Office of the Chief Information Officer with other OCFO agencies. Agencies have been moving into Waterfront Station since mid-March on a rolling basis with the final move-ins by early May.

Both office buildings – each 250,000 square feet – are designed to achieve at least LEED silver certification with features that include: green roof, a design that achieves maximum daylight to interior offices, use of low-emitting materials and recycled and locally-available sources.

The new DC government buildings, along with 85,000 square feet of neighborhood retail line the newly restored 4th Street, SW. The stretch of 4th Street, SW between M and I Streets, Southwest was closed more than forty years ago when the site was developed as an urban mall and office complex. The right-of-way has been restored as a part of the project’s initial phase. The new 4th Street not only creates the new “Main Street” of Waterfront Station, but a new connecting artery for Southwest.

Mitchell N. Schear, President of Vornado/Charles E. Smith and part of the Waterfront Associates development team said, “Waterfront Station was a huge opportunity to create a new center of vitality in southwest through a very creative public/private partnership.” He commended the city and the neighborhood “for making transformative projects like Waterfront Station a priority.”

Waterfront Station has also become the new neighborhood destination, with 88 percent of the first phase retail space already leased.

Waterfront Station retail includes two stores that were a part of the site’s former use and have operated throughout the project’s construction phase.

April 16 Safeway opened an expanded, new urban concept store to replace its former store on the site. The dynamic new 54,769 square foot store features a food court with prepared foods, a full service deli, cheese bar, bakery, sit-down sushi bar and an in-store Starbucks, all in addition to a significantly expanded grocery selection throughout the store.

CVS, which was also an existing retailer on the site, will relocate from its temporary onsite location into a new 12,543 square foot store on the east side of 4th St. SW at 1100 4th Street. The new store opens this summer.

We were pleased to be able to keep Safeway and CVS open onsite throughout the construction phase because they are so critical to the Southwest community,” said Deborah Ratner Salzberg, president of Forest City Washington. “Now with the addition of several great, new places to eat and service-oriented merchants being added, Waterfront Station is legitimately the neighborhood center of this vibrant residential and office community.”

In addition, several new retailers and places to eat will be locating at Waterfront Station. Subway, the popular national sub shop chain, will open in September 2010. DC-based Z Burger also plans to open a new 2,270 square foot location serving Southwest DC.

An exciting new restaurant will be opening soon at the 1101 4th Street building of Waterfront Station. Station 4, a new concept from the owners of Ulah Bistro on U Street will open a stylish new restaurant of just under 4,000 square feet and have seating both indoors and outdoors on the plaza area. Station 4 is expected to open in the fall of 2010.

Waterfront Cleaners, a convenient and established dry cleaning operation will also soon have a location at Waterfront Station.

Information about Waterfront Station can be found at http://www.waterfrontstation.com/.

After months of speculation, Subway, Station 4 restaurant, Z Burger, and Waterfront Cleaners are now officially coming to Waterfront Station! There is still room for at least three more retailers in phase one, including a bank.

Update: Here is a link to a press release from Clark Construction, the general contractor of Waterfront Station, as well as a story from Fox 5 News.

FRESHFARM Market Opens Today!

This is a reminder that the FRESHFARM Market at the Health & Human Services building at 200 Independence Avenue debuts today from 2:30pm-6:30pm. It will be open every Wednesday until October 27th. Local farmers and producers include: Blades Orchard, DiBonaventure Bakery, Down to Earth Farm, Evensong Farm, Firefly Farm, Floradise Orchids, LynnVale Studios, Springfield Farm of Kent County, Three Springs Fruit Farm and more. Also, EBT/Food Stamps can be redeemed at the information table for fresh and healthy foods at the HHS market.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Presentation This Thursday on Eisenhower Square

The National Capital Planning Commission will be holding their June meeting on Thursday and one of the items on the agenda, as reported by DCMud, is a presentation by Gehry Partners on Eisenhower Square, the memorial planned for President Eisenhower just south of the National Air & Space Museum between 4th Street and 6th Street. The four-acre memorial will close off Maryland Avenue, but sight lines to the Capitol will be maintained. Also on the agenda is the new Metrobus facility planned at DC Village.