Thursday, May 24, 2012

Existing Public Parks Finally Getting Some Love

(This post is an abbreviated version of the South by West article that will appear in June's Hill Rag.)

The Southwest Playground Project (SWPP) is projected to receive $250,000 in the District's FY2013 Budget to bridge the funding gap needed to build a playground adjacent to the Southwest Branch Library at 3rd and I Street SW. Budget funds are coming from Ward 6 Council Member Tommy Wells' Committee on Parks, Libraries, and Recreation. The SWPP, a project of the Near SE/SW Community Benefits Coordinating Council, already raised over $100,000 on its own to build the playground, but several infrastructure issues need to be addressed at the city-owned park, such as storm water drainage, broken concrete pathways, and the need for retaining walls. These infrastructure improvements added nearly $250,000 to the budget estimate made by DC-based Landscape Architecture Bureau, who has been hired to design the playground. With the additional funds from the District, design work can proceed and a land survey can be conducted. Since the fiscal year begins on October 1, 2012, the District funds cannot be used until after that date. The first vote on the budget was done earlier this month and final passage is expected on June 5.

There will be a park clean-up this Saturday from 10am - 12pm at the Library Park. SWPP will provide bags, gloves, and refreshments.  Bring shovels, rakes, and of course, your children.

Meanwhile, another $400,000 is reserved in the FY2013 Budget for improvements to Lansburg Park, the large underutilized park located to the east of Greenleaf Gardens along Delaware Avenue. District funds reserved for Lansburg will go towards restoring the overhead lights, as well as installing basketball court to replace the tennis courts that are currently in bad shape. The "Friends of Lansburg Park" group was formed recently to join DPR's Parks Partners program and to use SWNA's 501c3 status to do fundraising. The Friends group is working with the PAWS of Southwest, who is applying with DPR to build what would be the largest dog park in the city at Lansburg, as well as with a group who wants a community garden. An open house was held last month to solicit ideas for the future of Lansburg and a charrette is planned for sometime this summer.

In addition, at the Southwest Duck Pond's annual Volunteer Recognition Event and sign unveiling ceremony yesterday, Council Member Wells announced there will be funding set aside in the FY2013 Budget for improvements to that park. As mentioned previously, there was funding set aside in the FY2012 Budget for park improvements, but since then, the newly created Department of General Services has taken jurisdiction over capital improvements from DPR and nixed the funding appropriation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Capitol Skyline Pool Parties

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, the most trendy summertime activity in Southwest will soon start again - pool parties at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, located at Half and I Street. On Sunday, May 27, Liquid Lifestyle will host the first Adult Swim Pool Party of the season from 12pm-6pm. Admission is free until 1pm if you RSVP by sending your name via text to 202-RESERVE. The following weekend, Brightest Young Things will have a "Bride of Hipster Camp" pool party on Saturday, June 2 from 11am to 7pm for all ages.  Admission is $15.  Check out Liquid Lifestyle and BYT for more information on future pool parties throughout the summer.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Volunteers Needed for SW Youth Tennis Club

The second season of the Southwest Youth Tennis Club will begin this summer.  Below is information from
the press release:
This season, free lessons will be offered on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings from June 20 through July 28 (excluding July 4th) at the King-Greenleaf Recreation Center Tennis Courts, 201 N Street, SW Washington, DC. Practice sessions may also be scheduled depending on the students’ needs. The Tennis Club can accommodate up to 40 students. 
This year, the club needs volunteers to: coach and teach tennis to 10-18 year-old beginners; practice with the students; distribute leaflets announcing the free lessons; pick up and deliver refreshments; take action photos of the students, and make wake-up/reminder calls. Interested volunteers should email Kay Hixson at
Photo from last season courtesy of Kay Hickson

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Waterfront Station Sale Runner-Up

As mentioned in this week's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only) the sale of Waterfront Station from Waterfront Associates to USAA Real Estate Co. was a runner up in the WBJ's Best Real Estate Deals of 2011. While the news on its own probably isn't of much interest, the last sentence in the description of the sale potentially is:
The sale, for about $557 per square foot, marked one of the highest per-square-foot sales in Southwest and also positioned Waterfront Associates to continue with plans to develop future phases of Waterfront Station.
In addition to the sale of the completed office buildings, the former EPA buildings were sold to Urban Atlantic in 2011, which began construction on Sky House I Apartments in February with the second building to begin later this month. Now flush with cash, perhaps Waterfront Associates may decide to move forward soon with new construction on one of their three remaining lots? There's been some chatter recently that the next phase of Waterfront Station (aside from Sky House Apartments) will begin in 2014 on the northwest parcel (slated for office or residential), followed later by the southwest and southeast parcels as office buildings. The District owns the northeast parcel and has not indicated when it will solicit a RFP for development. 

While the completed office buildings are 100% leased to the District government and the urban lifestyle Safeway reportedly has the most points of sale of any Safeway on the eastern seaboard, there are still four vacant retail spaces on the ground floor. There's a 1,230 SF space available in the 1100 building and three spaces in the 1101 building (2,952 SF, 1,172 SF, and 4,130 SF).  The property manager said there are no specific types of retailers they are targeting, but according to the most recent blog poll, readers would most like a dive bar, a hardware/garden store, or a fast-casual restaurant.  What specific retailers would you like to see at Waterfront Station?