Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Stroll Down 4th Street

View 4th Street Development in a larger map

There is a lot of construction activity either underway or planned along 4th Street with something going on at almost every block from the National Mall to N Street. Above is a map of construction projects along the corridor with a summary of each project listed below from north to south.

Going south on 4th from the National Mall, the first project that comes up is the reseeding of the lawn on a section of the Mall stretching from 7th Street to 3rd Street. 

After crossing Independence Avenue, the west side of the street in front of the Department of Education will be transformed into a memorial to President Eisenhower. The memorial will take up the rectangle bordered by 6th Street to the west, Independence Avenue to the north, 4th Street to the east, and the Department of Education headquarters to the south. There’s been a lot of controversy over the memorial’s design, done by famed architect Frank Gehry.

Image courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP

On the next block between C Street and D Street, renovations continue at the Mary E. Switzer federal building. Interior work is being done, along with the creation of green space along C Street that will replace the surface parking lot that once was there.

At the northwest corner of 4th & E Streets, the new Consolidated Forensic Laboratory (CFL) is nearing completion.  I took a tour of the building last fall (unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside) which will include a forensic lab, MPD test firing range, and the coroner’s office.  Interior build-out is underway.

On the southwest corner of the intersection, a new office building with the address 400 E Street will replace the parking lot, and a new Engine 13 firehouse will be on the ground floor on the 4th Street side. In addition, there will be space on the E Street side for DC Central Kitchen and KidPower. A sign on the lot says the building will deliver in the 4th Quarter of 2013, but I don’t see that deadline being met since a major tenant hasn’t been lined up yet for the office building and construction has not begun.

Rendering courtesy of WDG Architecture

On 4th Street from School Street to I Street, a bike lane has been created on either side of the street.  The bike lanes were supposed to be installed a couple years ago shortly after the I Street to M Street segment was done, but better late than never I guess.

Potomac Place Tower, the condo conversion by Monument Realty at 800 4th Street has sold over 80% of its 396 units and is the largest condo project currently selling in the city.

The northeast and northwest parcels of Waterfront Station are currently slated for residential.  Construction on the northwest parcel may begin in 2014 once Sky House Apartments are completed a couple blocks south. The District owns the northeast parcel and the timetable for issuing a RFP has not been determined yet.

Construction at Sky House I Apartments began in February, the conversion of the former EPA towers at Waterfront Station by Urban Atlantic and the JBG Companies. Upon completion, both buildings will contain 530 apartments with 20% set aside as affordable housing for households earning up to 50% of Area Median Income (AMI).

The two vacant lots (well, one of those lots has a Bank of America trailer) at Waterfront Station fronting M Street are slated for office buildings.  No timetable has been set yet for construction.  

Tiber Island is planning to redo the stark, wind-swept plaza area that connects the four towers at the complex with a new oval-shaped fountain, seating, a pergola, and plantings.

 Rendering courtesy of SmithGroup

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Couple Quick Items: Maine Avenue Improvements Complete, Default Imminent at Donohoe Building

- DDOT announced last week that road and sidewalk improvements along Maine Avenue from 14th Street to the Fish Market have been completed. The $2 million project includes the widening of the sidewalk from four feet to a 14-foot trail to accommodate pedestrians and bikes, the reduction of road lanes from two lanes to one, new storm water drains, lighting, trees, signage, curbs, gutters, and fencing.  On-street parking has been eliminated along this stretch of road as a result.

- It was reported on CityBiz Real Estate that a $38.5 million loan for the Donohoe Building at 400 6th Street is in danger of being in default.  The building is located across the street from Constitution Center about a half block from the L'Enfant Plaza Metro and is currently leased by the District government for the Child and Family Services Agency.  The tenant is scheduled to vacate the building this summer at the conclusion of its lease.  The building was constructed in 1967 and was renovated in 1999. Perhaps this building could be a candidate for a conversion to residential to start the process of introducing residential to the predominately federal business district?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Old Friendship Baptist Church Grounds to be Used for Baseball

While redevelopment of the Old Friendship Baptist Church site at Delaware Avenue and H Street is on hold, the owner has leased the grounds to the Batter Up Foundation for use by DC RBI as a bullpen, batting cage, and storage space. The Batter Up Foundation is a non-profit organization affiliated with Major League Baseball that helps to bring baseball to inner-city youth in several cities across the country.

The grounds of the church are being set up as a batting cage, bullpen, and storage.
Next door to the church at Randall Recreation Center, the local DC Junior RBI Little League team has been practicing for the past couple of months at the ball field. Even though some of the 14 kids on the team are local Southwesters and attend Jefferson Middle School, this is the first season that the team has been practicing in Southwest. Coach Andrew Williamson, who is in his fourth year of coaching with DC RBI, said that DC RBI draws kids from Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8 and the Randall Rec Center ball field is ideal since it's centrally located, lighted, and easy to get to for the players. The Randall field has been underutilized by youth - the only people using it previously has been adult softball teams. Coach Andrew says DC RBI has been working with DPR, King-Greenleaf Recreation Center, and community leaders to bring the team to Randall. "We want people to know that kids here have an interest in baseball," said Williamson.

The ball field at Randall Recreation Center is behind the church.
Practice is held twice a week (Monday and Wednesday evenings) from 6:30 - 8:30pm. The first game of the season will be this Saturday, but the team plays their games at a little league field east of the Anacostia. The team mostly plays against other teams in DC, but also a few in Virginia and Maryland.

This isn't the first site in Southwest that has temporary uses on it while development has been delayed. Besides the parking lots along South Capitol Street, St. Matthew's has used their site at Delaware Avenue and M Street as a Christmas tree lot and community garden, and the northwest parcel at Waterfront Station has been used as a field for Ultimate Frisbee.

The Washington Business Journal also has a story on DC RBI's lease, and mentions in its article that Washington Parks and People will also lease part of the grounds for use as an urban agricultural site.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cherry Blossom Fever

The cherry blossoms may be peaking early, but there's still plenty of time left to celebrate the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in Southwest, which has been extended this year to five weeks to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the gift of trees from Tokyo to Washington, DC.  The Odyssey, Spirit of Washington, and Capital Elite cruise ships from Entertainment Cruises have been "planted" with cherry blossoms for the occasion as the "first blooms on the Potomac."

The Odyssey cruise ship, which is docked next to Cantina Marina, will be offering lunch, brunch, and dinner cruises with a specialty Cherry Blossom Centennial dessert from March 24 until April 8.  In addition, the Capital Elite yacht will offer two 45-minute sightseeing tours each day (at 2pm and 4pm) along the Washington Channel and Potomac River to see the blossoms.  On Saturday, April 7, both the Odyssey and the Spirit of Washington will offer Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks cruises, which will be set off along the Washington Channel. For more information on schedules and pricing, check out the Entertainment Cruises website.

Roving street performers from last year's festival at 7th Street Landing.
Prior to the fireworks show at 8:30pm on April 7, there will be over seven hours of free entertainment along with food and drink at the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival, which begins at 1pm. Last year's large-scale festival was a dry run for 2012, which will be even bigger to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the gift of trees. Several stages will be set up along the waterfront, including Kastles Stadium at The Wharf, the Washington Channel Stage, Gangplank Marina Park, and 7th Street Landing. Each of the stages will have different activities, including live music, a beach with a waterfront beer & sake garden, food trucks, arts & crafts, face painting, origami-making, roving street performers, and more. Check out the latest issue of The Southwester for a 2-page pull-out with details.

Replica ship from last year's festival.

Nen Daiko Japanese Drummers from last year's festival.
In the evening, there will be some special tributes right before the fireworks show, including the illumination of vessels along the seawall in pink, a theatrical performance by Dance Afire, a school of swimming Koi, and an imaginative pink flaming salute to the Centennial Celebration. This year's fireworks show will feature special Japanese fireworks presented by the City of Nagaoka, Japan and the mayor of that city is expected to attend. The Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival is produced by the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington Waterfront Association, and Hoffman-Madison Waterfront.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Few Quick Items: Wharf Center Design, St. Matthew’s PUD, Hirshhorn Multimedia

- The Washington Examiner has some details about The Wharf Center, a 5,000-seat concert hall planned for Phase I of development at The Wharf.  It will be designed by The Rockwell Group, the same designer as LA’s Kodak Theatre (home of the Academy Awards) and would be DC’s second largest concert hall after the Verizon Center.  It would compete with DAR Constitution Hall and Wolftrap’s Filene Center for shows.  From the article:
"We will have a high-quality, marquee venue here, [there's] nothing else like it in the Washington region," said [Monty] Hoffman, whose company is co-developing the $2 billion project with Madison Marquette. "It's going to be unabashedly a rock music hall."
It was reported last month that the developers were in negotiations with the 9:30 Club to operate the venue.  The Wharf Center will be a 135,000 SF multipurpose entertainment and cultural venue on Parcel 2, located near the Maine Avenue Fish Market at 9th Street and Maine Avenue. Wrapped around it will be 494 mixed income apartment units in two towers (292 units in the east tower and 202 units in the west tower), and 39,000 SF of ground floor retail.  In addition, there will be a Combined Heating and Power Facility (CHP).  Construction is planned to begin in the first quarter of 2013, pending approval of the Stage 2 PUD application.

Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

- DCMud covered the second half of the Zoning Commission hearing that occurred this past Monday for the St. Matthew’s PUD.  The article focused primarily on the two individuals that testified against the development planned for Delaware Avenue and M Street (never mind there were over a dozen people who testified in support of it that evening).  Check out the video from the meeting.

Rendering courtesy of Shalom Baranes Architects

- As reported in The Washington Post, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is gearing up for a public art display called “SONG 1” by Doug Aitken that will project images on the exterior of the cylindrical museum starting today, from sunset until midnight, and will last through May 13.  From the article:
The continuous visual loop will fracture images, swirl, swoop and transform the already famous building into a 360-degree panorama that viewers can experience any number of ways: at a fixed point watching it all unfold, walking around the building to see what’s occurring at other vantage points; driving by what may seem like a moving two-story billboard on the Mall or from a distance, where it may look like a Vegas spaceship that’s landed on the august expanse of monuments, museums and grass.
The loop will last 45 minutes and will be accompanied by several versions of the song “I Only Have Eyes for You." I Tweeted last week that I saw the Hirshhorn lit up (I guess it was a test run) but didn’t know at the time why.  Check out the Post's photo gallery for much better quality photos than the one I took with my camera phone that night. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Randall School Developers Seek Extension

At last Monday's ANC 6D meeting, Marilyn Melkonian from Telesis came before the commissioners to request their support in extending the PUD for the Randall School project at Half and I Streets.  The Telesis/Rubell team have yet to submit their own PUD for the project, so the extension is for the original plans when the site was owned by the Corcoran and Monument Realty. The Telesis/Rubell team agreed to purchase the site from the Corcoran in 2010, but the sale closed only a few months ago. Telesis is putting together the programming, financing, and design of the project and hopes to start construction in 2013 with completion in 2015-16. While the project is still in the design phase, some particulars were revealed during the presentation. Below is a massing study done on the project by Bing Thom Architects that was presented at the meeting.  

The model shows the three heritage buildings that will remain along with two residential buildings with a total of approximately 400 units that will rise up to 110 feet behind. Of the 400 units, 20% will be set aside as affordable housing for households earning up to 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). A boutique hotel was also planned previously, but it was determined that it was not financially feasible, so the residential component was increased. It's envisioned that the modern art museum that will house the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation will be located within the heritage buildings. In addition, a restaurant may be placed in the easternmost heritage building. A new mid-block east-west street will be created behind the heritage buildings to remove some traffic off of I Street, but deliveries will primarily occur on H Street. With the removal of the newer wings of the Randall School, the back of the heritage buildings will be exposed and the development team is still contemplating whether to build townhouse units alongside the rear of the heritage buildings or retail spaces. A courtyard will be created behind the central heritage building that will be open to the public.  Ms. Melkonian said she hopes the entire project will be built in one phase starting in 2013, but the residential buildings could be done in two phases.  While the residential buildings are currently planned as apartments, it's possible that one of the buildings could be done as condos if built in phases and depending on market conditions. Regardless of when the residential buildings are completed, the modern art museum will be done in the first phase.

The ANC voted to support the PUD extension 6-1 after agreeing to rescind their prior disapproval 5-1-1 when no one from the Telesis team came to the February ANC meeting. Next, the Telesis/Rubell team will meet with the Zoning Commission on March 21 to seek the PUD extension.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New Bike Lanes

Bike lanes have been installed along 4th Street from School Street to I Street and also on I Street from 7th Street to 6th Street & 3rd Street to South Capitol Street and beyond. Above is a photo of the new bike lanes on the 800 block of 4th Street. Eventually, the 4th Street bike lanes will go north all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue and south to P Street. Bike lanes were installed on 4th between I Street and M Street when that road reopened in 2010 and the rest of the street was supposed to be completed the same year, but the installation was delayed. Renovations are ongoing at the Mary E. Switzer federal office building between C & D Streets, closing off part of 4th Street, so I imagine once that is complete, the bike lanes will be installed to connect residential Southwest to the National Mall.  Several bikers already use 4th Street as a commuter route and there are two Capital Bikeshare stations on the street - one at Waterfront Station (4th & M Streets) and the other next to Patriots Plaza (4th & E Streets).  The pre-existing I Street bike lanes were installed a couple of years ago from 6th Street to 3rd Street.   According to the DC Bicycle Master Plan, bike lanes will also be installed on 3rd Street between I and M Streets, portions of M Street, 1st Street, O Street, and Potomac Avenue.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Few Quick Items: Dog Park, St. Matthew's PUD, 7th Street Landing Activities, Capital Bikeshare Expansion, Kastles Roster, Fish Market Restoration, Craft Beer & Food Truck Festival

- The PAWS of SW will be submitting an application to the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to create an off-leash dog park at Lansburg Park since Southwest is the only quadrant in the city without a dog park. They will be working with the newly created "Friends of Lansburg Park" to do fundraising and organize community events, with the support of SWNA. Over $100,000 is needed to build the dog park, which will go towards ground modification, fencing, running water, and to make the site ADA accessible.  A minimum of 5,000 square feet is needed for a dog park, but the proposed dog park will not take up all of Lansburg Park. Other uses are being explored for the large, underutilized green space, including a playground, community garden, and skate park. The PAWS of SW meets at the SW Library on the first Wednesday of every month and they have a Google Group (

- The development team behind the St. Matthew's church and multifamily housing project met with the Zoning Commission last week to get approval for their PUD application.  There were so many people who wanted to testify at the meeting that it was adjourned until March 19.   Neighbors of the proposed development have created an online petition in opposition to the development. Below is a video of the March 5 meeting in case you are so inclined to watch the meeting. Rendering courtesy of Shalom Baranes Architects

Update: The second half of the Zoning Commission hearing from March 19 is now available (see below). A few follow-up items still need to be sent to the Zoning Commission and they will meet again on April 30 to make their decision on the PUD application.

- Hoffman-Madison Waterfront is proposing to offer wine and beer sales at 7th Street Landing this season on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Last year, beer and wine was sold only on Thursdays during the farmers market. The farmers market will be back on Thursday evenings with jazz performances starting on June 7 for approximately 16 weeks.  Friday evenings will bring community entertainment, while YaLa and yoga will return on Saturday mornings.  New this year will be family-friendly movie screenings on Saturday evenings. Sundays will be dedicated to recreation, including bocce, table tennis, and cornhole.

-  Renovations are planned this summer at Amidon-Bowen Elementary school.  Phase 1 will include a new administrative office suite at the front of the school, a new walk-through from the front to the play area in back, re-sized classrooms, and a new ADA-compliant entrance. All of the renovations will be complete by the end of August.  Last summer, Target donated funds to renovate the school's library. There will be an open house on Tuesday, April 10 from 6-7pm at the school where the plans will be shared with the community.

- Two Capital Bikeshare stations were installed today on the National Mall.  One is located on Jefferson Drive between 14th and 15th Streets by the Washington Monument and the other is on Ohio Drive near the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.  Three more stations will be installed over the coming weeks.

- The Washington Kastles have completed their roster selection and will bring back most of the team from last season, including Captain Leander Paes, Bobby Reynolds, and Arina Rodionova. Replacing retired player Rennae Stubbs will be Arina's sister Anastasia Rodionova.  The Kastles will have two sets of siblings with the Rodionovas and the Williams sisters, who will also return this season.

- The Housing Complex blog describes how the Hoffman-Madison Waterfront team will preserve and restore the Oyster Shucking Shed and Lunch Room at the Maine Avenue Fish Market as a component of The Wharf development.  Currently, the white buildings at the market are vacant and in disrepair.  From the post:
The currently unused Oyster Shucking Shed and Lunch Room, a pair of ramshackle buildings surrounded by vending machines and ice boxes, will become a "centerpiece," according to a spokesman for the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. They've submitted an historic landmark application for the seemingly nondescript structures, which were built in 1916 and are now literally falling apart inside. They retain enough integrity, though, to "serve as reminders of the Southwest Waterfront's historic commercial and maritime industries." According to the application, the Lunch Room was home to the Cadillac Restaurant from the 1940s through the 1970s, while fish dealers used the shucking shed to prepare their catch for sale. 

- LivingSocial is hosting a Craft Beer and Food Truck Festival at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf on the weekend of April 21-22 from 12-5pm. There will be 25 craft brewery tents, live local music, 10 food trucks, and backyard lawn games and activities. LivingSocial is currently offering a package for $35 on their website.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sky House Commencement Ceremony

This morning’s commencement ceremony of Sky House Apartments (the adaptive reuse of the former EPA towers) at 4th & M Streets was attended by developers, lenders, architects, as well as community and city leaders including ANC 6D Chair Andy Litsky, Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells and Mayor Gray. Removal of the concrete skin at the eastern tower actually began last month, but there was an official ribbon cutting today in a tent erected next to the construction site, along with several speeches and a nice breakfast spread. 

A tent was set up next to the construction site. Mayor Gray's Lincoln Navigator is parked nearby.
Construction went on in the east tower as the ceremony was underway.
Upon completion, the two towers will have a total of 530 apartments with 106 affordable units (20% of the total) for those earning up to 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) and will be the tallest residential buildings in Southwest.  The project is a partnership between Urban Atlantic and The JBG Companies, with exterior design by Wiencek + Associates and interior design by RD Jones & Associates.  Urban Atlantic purchased the buildings from Waterfront Associates in 2011 for $10 million. In addition to Sky House apartments, Urban Atlantic has a mixed-use project next to the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station that’s about to deliver, and are a partner in the Capper Carrollsburg Hope VI redevelopment in Near SE. Vicki Davis, President of Urban Atlantic stated during the commencement ceremony:
We are confident that Sky House will appeal to a variety of individuals seeking luxury living amidst the exciting ambiance of the Southwest Waterfront. The apartments are beautifully designed with a full range of lifestyle amenities.
A description of the planned amenities can be found here.  In addition, a few new renderings were released, as seen above and below:

The apartments will be the tallest residential buildings in Southwest.
The rooftop will have a pool and deck area with incredible views.
Renderings courtesy of Wiencek + Associates

DC United Stadium Proposal

There’s an article in this week’s Capital Business about plans for a possible Buzzard Point stadium for DC United that were developed back in 2010 by Dallas-based architecture firm HKS.  A map in the article shows the footprint of the proposed stadium site, which covers only a small portion of the 100 V Street site owned by Akridge (the southern block of the 100 V Street site is slated for a velodrome - at least temporarily). There would also be other amenities in the area to make the Potomac Avenue corridor an entertainment district linking the Buzzard Point stadium and Nationals Park, similar to some ideas floated last year on this blog.  Here’s a snippet from the article about the plan:
The stadium would have team offices, a club venue and underground parking. A public plaza, shopping, ticketing center and theater would line Half Street SW. The planners included images from outside other famous sporting venues, including Boston’s Fenway Park, San Diego’s Petco Park and Flushing Meadows in New York City.
There’s also an unnamed source in the Gray administration mentioned in the article stating the city might be willing to pay for new infrastructure if the team can finance construction of the stadium.  Back in November, Mayor Gray stated at a SWNA meeting his support for DC United remaining in DC, but said the city didn’t have the money to build the team a new stadium. In addition, the City Council passed a resolution last week stating their support for the team staying in DC.  More details about what’s primarily been behind-the-scenes negotiation between the city and the team will probably emerge in the coming weeks and months, but the perceived tone between the two sides has improved since last year when there was chatter about the team moving to Baltimore.

A Few Quick Items: 5x5 Art in SW, Helen Hayes Nominations, Kastles Schedule, FTC Wants to Stay Put, Biomass Plant for Blue Plains

- As a part of this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, the DC Commission of Arts and Humanities is putting together a 5x5 Temporary Public Art Project to help activate end enliven public spaces.  Two of the 25 pieces of art will be displayed in Southwest – one in front of Arena Stage and the other near the Titanic Memorial on the waterfront.  Below is a description of the two southwest sculptures from the press release:
The Cherry Blossom Cloud by Charles Juhasz-Alvarado, a large-scale temporary public sound sculpture fashioned in the shape of a xylophone from cherry wood that will be situated outside the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Drumsticks will be available nearby for passers-by to activate the work by playing a melody or creating their own musical work. 
Deborah Stratman & Steven Badgett’s Polygonal Address (PA) System is a monumental floating platform, anchored at the Gangplank Marina and the waters behind the Titanic Memorial. This solar-powered sound system will feature a wide range of historic sound recordings, such as public addresses given during the 1932 Bonus Army protests on the National Mall. It will also provide a platform for guest sound programming by local, D.C.-based musicians, speakers, and artists.

Arena Stage has received nine nominations this year for the 28th Annual Helen Hayes Awards. Five of the nominations are for Ruined, while three are for Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and one for Equivocation. This year’s awards program will take place on Monday, April 23 at the Warner Theatre.

- The Washington Kastles have released their 2012 season home schedule: 
Thursday, July 12 vs. New York Sportimes (featuring Martina Hingis)
Sunday, July 15 vs. Philadelphia Freedoms (USTA Family Night)
Monday, July 16 vs. Boston Lobsters
Wednesday, July 18 vs. Sacramento Capitals
Friday, July 20 vs. Orange County Breakers (Chris Evert Fan Reception)
Sunday, July 23 vs. Kansas City Explorers (with Serena Williams)
Tuesday, July 24 vs. Philadelphia Freedoms (with Venus Williams)
Last season, the Kastles had a perfect season, record-breaking attendance at their new home at The Wharf, and won the World Team Tennis title.

- According to the Washington Business Journal, the Federal Trade Commission is against a proposal to move from its current headquarters building on Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Center in order to help fill some of the space that was to be occupied by the SEC.  From the article:
“To require the agency to move out of its historic headquarters building at 600 Pennsylvania NW, which still suits the agency and its mission, would impose well over $100 million in wholly unnecessary costs,” the [FTC] commissioners wrote. “This unprecedented giveaway would be completely contrary to the interests of American taxpayers, especially in this time of fiscal austerity.” 
- In addition to the Combined Heating and Power facility planned at The Wharf, a new biomass plant will be built at the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment plant according to the Washington Business Journal. Power from the plant will provide electricity for 30% of the electrical needs at Blue Plains. Construction is supposed to begin in August with completion in late 2014.

Friday, March 2, 2012

L'Enfant Plaza 2.0

L’Enfant Plaza’s retail center transformation continues moving forward, which began back in 2009. The retail center, two office buildings, and a hotel at the massive complex are owned by The JBG Companies and the renovated retail center was designed by SmithGroup. Now open at the food court: Potbelly Sandwich Works, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Starbucks, Crumbs Bake Shop, Roti Mediterranean Grill, Au Bon Pain, Frozen Yogurt Indulgence, Gourmet Too, Mina’s Boutique, Nash’s Mens Wear, 4-U, Hallmark Cards, Gateway Newsstand, Jay Jewelers, a sports injury rehab center, and a post office. A few other retailers are still scheduled to open over the next few months, including Five Guys and Mamma Ilardo’s.  Several of the restaurants are open beyond 5pm during the work week and are also open on Saturday. 

Hallmark Cards is one of the retailers who moved from the old retail promenade to the renovated center. 
Construction on Phase II is underway and demolition will soon begin on the western portion of the existing retail center with completion scheduled for the third quarter of 2013. Many retailers have expressed interest in coming to Phase II of the retail center, according to Matt Ginivan of JBG, who attended the International Council of Shopping Centers conference last week at National Harbor. Some of the targeted retailers at Phase II include sit down restaurants, as well as a fitness center and child care facility.

Rendering of the atrium interior planned for Phase II
A couple of weeks ago, the Commission of Fine Arts approved designs for the grand glass atrium entryway planned for the plaza in Phase II; however, ZGF (Zimmer Gunsul Frasca) needs to go back to the drawing table on the planned office building on Frontage Road since the commission requested a number of changes to those preliminary designs. 

Rendering of atrium exterior on the plaza.
Meanwhile, renovations are also underway on the east office tower, which includes the addition of glass to the lobby area to give it some “pop” and compliments the glass atrium planned for the plaza. The hotel above the east office building was recently renovated and construction on a new extended-stay Homewood Suites hotel will get underway at 9th and D Street this summer. The addition of windows at the food court, as well as the new atrium and office lobby improvements in the east tower will add more light throughout the complex. Eventually, an office building is planned for the plaza itself, but those plans are still preliminary.  

Glass additions to the east office building lobby are visible in the background.
Even though L’Enfant Plaza is geographically close to the residential area of Southwest, access to the complex by foot is daunting. In the intermediate and long-term, there are plans to make improvements. The developer is looking to eventually improve pedestrian connections from the south with the construction of the proposed Frontage Road office building.  As a part of the Southwest Ecodistrict initiative, there are plans to remake 10th Street into a pedestrian-friendly street that will better connect L’Enfant Plaza to The Wharf development and the rest of Southwest. In addition, the DC Office of Planning has been working on the Maryland Avenue Draft Plan in conjunction with the Southwest Ecodistrict which calls for a new south entrance to the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station.

Renderings courtesy of SmithGroup