Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Few Quick Items: New South Capitol Street Bridge, Constitution Center Sale, Randall Rec. Center, Federal Triangle South

- DDOT is prepping for the replacement of the Frederick Douglass Bridge with a Request for Qualifications from contractors for design-build construction of the first two segments of the South Capitol Street corridor project.  Segment one involves the replacement of the bridge with an arched bascule bridge, along with approaches to the bridge, including a new traffic oval at South Capitol Street & Potomac Avenue and a traffic circle at South Capitol Street and Suitland Parkway. Segment two will reconstruct the Suitland Parkway and Interstate 295 interchange.  Future segments will include the reconstruction of the South Capitol Street corridor from M Street to Independence Avenue, part of which is making the South Capitol Street and M Street intersection at-grade. Funding for the first two segments is still pending so the start date of construction hasn't been determined.

Rendering courtesy of DDOT

- It was reported last week in the Washington Business Journal that Constitution Center sold for $734 million by MetLife, making it one of the most expensive commercial buildings ever in the District.  It was easier to sell the building once the building was fully leased.

- A concept plan was released for the exterior of the Randall Recreation Center based on feedback from a community meeting held last month. The plan includes a playground for children ages 2-12 and swings.  The dreary plaza area that fronts I Street would be replaced with freshened up landscaping, picnic tables, a spray plaza, game tables, sculptures, and a skate spot.  The revamped park space is supposed to be completed in 2013 and has already been funded by the city.

- The GSA has released a Request for Information (or RFI) for several parcels it owns in an area they have dubbed "Federal Triangle South." The RFI follows up on their Notice of Intent to release a RFI within the next 90 days back in September. The redevelopment of these parcels would result in the need for new office space for 5,300 Department of Energy employees, roughly 5,400 Federal Aviation Administration employees, and nearly 2,500 Department of Homeland Security employees.

According to the RFI, the vision of Federal Triangle South is the following:
Redeveloping FTS has the potential to transform an uninviting federal office precinct into an area that: 
  • Provides right-sized, efficiently designed Federal facilities; 
  • Includes sustainable land and smart buildings; 
  • Successfully merges commercial, residential, civic, institutional, and green space; 
  • Maintains a significant Federal presence along Independence Avenue; 
  • Reintroduces portions of the L’Enfant Plan street grid.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review of Pullman Porter Blues

Pullman Porter Blues was written by Cheryl L. West, directed by Lisa Peterson, and is a co-production with Seattle Repertory Theatre. The production makes its way to Arena Stage after opening at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. This has got to be my favorite production so far this season at Arena Stage. The set was done creatively and the acting was superb, with a mix of comedy and drama. Pullman Porter Blues takes place in June 1937 on the Panama Limited, a sleeper train operated by the Pullman Palace Car Company that ran from Chicago to New Orleans. It profiles the lives of the Sykes family, three generations of African American porters who are working on the same train. Porters were one of the first professional positions available for African Americans and eventually a porter union was formed called the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, whose formation is featured in the production.  However, E. Faye Butler, an Arena Stage favorite, steals the show as Sister Juba, a boisterous lounge performer on the train who also has a drinking problem and is the former love interest of one of the Sykes porters. This show will make you laugh, but it will also make you think, especially about what porters had to go through every day in order to do their jobs.

Pullman Porter Blues runs from November 23 to January 6 in the Kreeger Theater. Southwest Night will be on December 26 at 12pm where ticket prices are discounted at $35 for those who live or work in Southwest (normal prices range from $64 - $109).

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage, taken by Chris Bennion

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Randall Neighbor Day at the Corcoran

Today is the annual Randall Neighbor Day at the Corcoran Gallery of Art where residents of Southwest and Near Southeast get free admission to the art museum with an ID. As a part of the original PUD agreement for the Randall School project, one of the community benefits was free admission for residents at the museum one day a year, hence Randall Neighbor Day.  The normal cost of admission is $10.  Current exhibitions include Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII, Enoc Perez: Utopia, and Ivan Sigal: White Road. Check here for more information about the exhibits on display.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art is located at 500 17th Street, NW and will be open today from 10am - 5pm.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bake Sale at SW Duck Pond Tomorrow

The SW Community Gardeners is having a bake sale tomorrow at the SW Duck Pond from 11am to 5pm, located at 6th and I Street.  The group is raising funds to help build a community garden at Lansburgh Park.  A dog park is also planned for the park, which is being organized by the PAWS of SW.  Their application with DPR was approved earlier this year and the group is in the fundraising stage.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Couple Quick Items: Photos from the Parade of Lighted Boats, St. Matthew's Christmas Tree Sale

A large crowd gathered for the 20th annual Parade of Lighted Boats at 7th Street Landing last Saturday.  There were several family-friendly activities, including photos with Santa, gingerbread cookie decorating, and the tree lighting with artificial snow. Below are a few photos of the boats from the event.

Peace and love.

Happy Hanukkah!

One of the house barges docked at the Gangplank Marina.

A view of some of the boats docked at the Gangplank Marina.

While the Planned Unit Development (PUD) was approved for the new St. Matthew's Lutheran Church and apartments at M Street and Delaware Avenue earlier this year, construction won't begin at least until 2013 so the church will use its lot again this year as a Christmas tree lot.  The St. Matthew's lot is the only Christmas tree lot in the neighborhood. Trees and wreaths are available for purchase on Thursdays & Fridays from 5pm - 8:30pm and Saturdays & Sundays from 1pm - 5pm.  Scotch Pines and Frazier Furs are available.  Click on the flyer for more information.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More Progress in DC United Stadium Talks

According to an article in Capital Business, Pepco is in preliminary talks with the city to allow construction of a new stadium for DC United on property partially owned by the utility company in Buzzard Point. This is progress since Pepco was previously not interested in having its land used for a stadium. From the article:
“Pepco has been in preliminary discussions with representatives from the District and DC United regarding the potential siting of a new soccer stadium near the Buzzard Point Facility,” said Pepco spokesman Marcus Beal in an e-mail.

Beal did not say whether Pepco would consider selling or transferring the land to the District. But he said the company wanted to be supportive of the city’s economic development efforts in determining whether the site could accommodate a stadium.

“At this stage, we are only discussing the feasibility and impacts that building the stadium in the area might have on the existing underground electric infrastructure that serves this corridor of the city,” he said. “Pepco is supportive of efforts to bring new economic development opportunities to the District while providing safe and reliable electric service to our customers.”
The proposed stadium site is located just a few blocks southwest of Nationals Park at Potomac Avenue and 1st Street. If a deal goes through between the city and DC United, the team would pay to build the stadium and the city would be responsible for land acquisition and infrastructure improvements.  Besides Pepco, other landowners include the District, Akridge, and Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein.

Rendering courtesy of Akridge