Friday, October 26, 2012

Catching Up on a Few Quick Items: Micro-Units, Constitution Center, DC United, Green Bike Lanes, Retail, Early Voting

- Micro-units are planned for a portion of one of the rental apartment buildings in phase one of The Wharf, according to DCmud.  The micro-units are planned for parcel 2, which also includes the Wharf Center performance space and the co-gen plant. These units will range from 330 - 380 square feet and will have space-saving features such as built-in furniture and cabinets, Murphy beds, and small appliances. Large windows will offer views of the Washington Channel and some units will have small French balconies. The theory behind having smaller units is that the lifestyle of people in cities has changed - many renters spend less time in their living space and more time at restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues, which will all be present at The Wharf.  Smaller units are also more affordable for renters (and more profitable for developers).

Rendering courtesy of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront

- Constitution Center, the massive office building on top of the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station at 400 7th Street, will be occupied by the Federal Trade Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, according to an article in the Washington Business Journal. These tenants will fill the 1.4 million square-foot complex since the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Housing Finance Agency already committed to the bulk of the space after the SEC backed out of their lease in 2010.

- Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans mentioned in an interview with The Washington Post earlier this month that he hopes a framework of a deal for DC United to build a stadium at Buzzard Point will be in place by the end of the year.  From the article:
United would cover the costs of constructing the stadium but also seek to keep a share of the tax revenue. The D.C. Council would have to approve such a request. The city would also pay for infrastructure improvements at Buzzard Point, an undeveloped area next to Fort McNair near the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. 

- More green bikes lanes have started to pop-up – the latest has appeared at the intersection of 4th and I Streets. Earlier this month, lanes were painted green at the intersection of South Capitol and I Streets. At the 4th & I intersection, the green bike lane was painted on 4th Street southbound leading to the intersection. In addition, a green bike box was painted at the intersection, a buffer area where cars are not supposed to cross when stopped at the intersection.

- A Caseys Coffee is coming to 355 E Street, the Phase 3 building of Patriots Plaza, according to DCmud. Construction of the 2,245 SF space is supposed to begin in November. The downtown location on L Street, NW is open Monday - Friday from 6:30am - 4:30 pm, so the new SW location will probably have similar hours. They serve coffee, soups, sandwiches, and salads.

- Early voting began this week at One Judiciary Square, but starting tomorrow, each ward will have a polling place open for early voting. The Ward 6 polling station is King Greenleaf Recreation Center at 201 N Street. The polls will be open each day (except Sunday) from October 27 - November 4 from 8:30am - 7pm.

ANC Reconsiders Vote on Waterfront Station PUD

At last week's ANC 6D meeting, the developers of Waterfront Station came back before the commissioners to get their support for extending their PUD until April 2014 for the southwest and northeast parcels. At last month’s meeting, the ANC voted to not support the extension, due to several pending issues that the commissioners wanted resolved with regard to the two vacant parcels.  Since the October meeting, the developers and DMPED (who controls the northeast parcel) have addressed most of those issues.

For instance, signage along the vacant retail spaces on 4th Street now have the correct contact information listed for those who are interested in leasing space at Waterfront Station.  In addition, the southwest parcel has been resurfaced. This site will not be grassed over like the other vacant parcels because a one-level parking garage still exists under this parcel, which is a vestige of the old Waterside Mall.  The garage will not be excavated until redevelopment of the site occurs. A staircase leading to that garage has also been fenced off.  Even though the lot has been resurfaced, it will not serve as a parking lot, but instead will be animated with interim uses starting in 2013.  The developers are evaluating proposals made by different organizations, such as Diverse Markets Management and Washington Parks & People, among others, who will use the space. Most of the landscaping that was planted earlier this year has died due to the warmer & drier than average summer, so those plantings will be replaced next spring. The Waterfront Station website is in the process of being updated with more information about who owns which portions of the site (Waterfront Associates sold the office buildings and retail spaces to USAA last year and also sold the former EPA buildings, now known as Sky House, to Urban Atlantic, but they retain development rights to 3 out of 4 remaining sites). They will work with USAA to put up signage along 4th Street to promote the development as Southwest’s “town center” and jersey barriers on 4th Street will be removed.

On the District-owned northeast parcel, a paved pathway will be created over the next month to replace the sometimes muddy dirt path well-worn by people who traverse the lot.  In addition, DMPED is also exploring interim uses for their parcel and a date has been set for when the site will be solicited for development (although that date was not mentioned at the meeting).

Afterwards, the commissioner voted 5-2 to reconsider their vote from last month and supported the PUD extension (Commissioners Craycraft and Shockley opposed).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review of 'One Night With Janis Joplin'

'One Night With Janis Joplin' was created, written and directed by Randy Johnson.  Mary Bridget Davies stars as Janis Joplin, who also tours internationally with Joplin’s original band Big Brother & the Holding Company.  As Janis, Davies tells the story of Joplin’s life, from growing up in Port Arthur, Texas to her move to San Francisco to join Big Brother & the Holding Company, to her breakout as a solo artist.  However, the life story only takes up a small portion of the show – most of it is dedicated to Joplin’s songs, as well as music from female trailblazers that inspired her, including Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Bessie Smith. Sabrina Elayne Carten plays the blues singer that sings Frankin’s, James’ and Smith’s tunes.  Joplin tragically died of a heroin overdose in 1970 before the release of her second album 'Pearl.' While I was born after Joplin died, I have heard some of her songs, namely Piece of My Heart.  Davies is energetic and gives a strong performance of Joplin which seemed to get the audience more pumped up as the evening progressed.  An example of this is at the end of Set One when Janis and Aretha Franklin sing ‘Spirit in the Dark’ and involve the audience in the song.  If you are a Janis Joplin fan, or if you just like great music, I’d suggest seeing this show.

'One Night With Janis Joplin' runs September  28 - November 4 in the Kreeger Theater at Arena Stage.  For tickets to the remaining shows, check here.  Southwest Night for this show is on Wednesday, October 31, where prices are reduced for residents and/or workers in Southwest.

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage, taken by Janet Macoska

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some Upcoming Events

Here is a list of some upcoming events in the neighborhood:
  • Monday, October 22nd is SWNA’s monthly meeting which will be a candidates’ forum for ANC 6D commissioner seats.  Contested races include single-member districts 6D02 and 6D05. Incumbent Cara Shockley is running (as a write-in candidate) against Near SE residents Ed Kaminski and Damon Patton in SMD 6D02, whose borders changed with redistricting to include a portion of Near SE. Over in SMD 6D05, incumbent Roger Moffatt is running against Grace E. Daughtridge.  Donna Hopkins is running unopposed in Bob Craycraft's soon-to-be vacated 6D01 seat while incumbents Ron McBee, Andy Litsky, Rhonda Hamilton, and David Garber are all running unopposed in their respective SMDs.  The meeting will take place at Arena Stage starting at 7pm.
  • Saturday, October 27th is Fall Fun Day at the Southwest Duck Pond with the Neighbors of Southwest Duck Pond and Girl Scouts Troop 4298 from King-Greenleaf Recreation Center from noon – 2pm.
  • Saturday, November 17th is My Fair Doggie event at the Southwest Duck Pond, where there will be a costume contest for dogs in conjunction with Arena Stage’s run of ‘My Fair Lady’ from noon – 2pm.  Judges will include Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells and Arena Stage’s artistic director Molly Smith.  Proceeds will benefit PAWS of SW.
  • Monday, November 19th is the next ANC 6D meeting at 7pm, located at 1100 4th Street, 2nd floor.  Agenda TBA.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Friends of SW Library Used Book Sale

There will be a used book sale at the SW Library next week sponsored by the Friends of Southwest DC Public Library.  Hundreds of books will be available, including bestsellers, fiction, non-fiction, vampires, and cookbooks.  Donations are also welcome (contact by email - or by phone - 202-670-7795). Most books will cost under $3 and pocket paperbacks will be sold 5 for $1. On Wednesday, October 24, there will be a Member Preview Night from 6pm - 8pm. On Saturday, October 27, the book sale will be open to all from 10am - 3pm.  All proceeds from the sale support community events and supplies for the Southwest Branch Library.

Improving Play Areas for SW Youth

Several new or renovated playgrounds will soon be available in the neighborhood. The playground at Randall Recreation Center is one of several playgrounds across the city that will be renovated during the 2013 fiscal year which began on October 1, according to the Washington Examiner.   The city will spend a total of $30 million to renovate 32 playgrounds in all 8 wards of the city.  Related to Randall, fill out this survey to gather input on programming ideas at Randall Recreation Center, which will be reopened in 2013 for programs.  Meanwhile, the city set aside an additional $250,000 to help create a playground at the SW Library park at 3rd & I Streets.  In addition, a new playground was built last month at Syphax Gardens (Half and P Streets) with the assistance of Make Kids Smile and over at Amidon-Bowen, construction is supposed to begin soon on two new playgrounds.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Southwest Playground Project on its Way to Become a Park Partner

The following post was written by Felicia Couts, Project Director of the Southwest Playground Project

The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) has agreed to designate the Near SE/SW Community BenefitsCoordinating Council’s Southwest Playground Project as a Park Partner for the 3rd and I Street SW Park, located adjacent to the SW Library. 

The official name of the new Park Partner will be the “Friends of 3rd and I, SW Park”.  From there, a collaboration of meetings will occur between DPR and the Friends of the 3rd and I SW Park to map and begin the planned park improvements which will include repairing the cracked walkways, installing retaining walls, pruning and removing dead trees, and installing playground equipment for children ages 2-12.

The new Friends of 3rd and I, SW Park wishes to extend its sincere thanks to Tommy Wells, ANC6D, the Mandarin Hotel, Safeway Foundation, Mr. Lawrence Impett, Make Kids Smile, CSX Corporation, Bravery Corporation, Station 4, and our SW community of neighborhood supporters.  

The next meeting of the Southwest Playground Project will be on Saturday from 3-4:30pm at the SW Library. 

Park rendering courtesy of LAB

Fall Foods Cooking Demonstration

There will be a cooking demonstration this Saturday at the Little Farm Stand at the SW Duck Pond.  Learn how to prepare Fall foods at 12pm and 1pm. The Little Farm Stand sells fruits, vegetables, pies, and preserves from local farms every Saturday from 10am - 2pm. A couple blocks down I Street at Christ United Methodist Church there is another farmers market each Saturday from Aya Markets from 9am - 1pm.

Images from SW ArtsFest

Food vendor at Central Art Market

Central Art Market

Moon bounce at End-of-Summer Fair

Sign at End-of-Summer Fair

Sock puppets at Sock Puppet Art Studio

Stage at Jazz Preservation Festival

Stage at Central Art Market