Friday, July 26, 2013

More on DC United Stadium Deal


Yesterday morning, Mayor Gray and Jason Levien from DC United, along with City Administrator Allen Lew and property owners in the stadium footprint, announced a deal to build a new, LEED-certified 20,000 to 25,000 seat stadium for DC United in Buzzard Point at 2nd and R streets. At the press conference, the mayor explained the complex deal that will bring a new stadium to Southwest, or as Lew stated, “a giant jigsaw puzzle.” The cost of the $300 million stadium will be split between the city and the team. According to the term sheet signed by Gray and Levien after the press conference, DC United will spend $150 million to build the stadium while the District will spend $40 million (up to a maximum of $50 million) on infrastructure improvements/environmental remediation and approximately $100 million for land assembly; however, the city intends not to actually use cash to purchase land for the stadium, but instead will do a series of land swaps. 

Mayor Gray at the press conference.

A land swap that has been agreed to already is between the District and Akridge, which owns a portion of the stadium site – the block bounded by 2nd Street to the west, S Street to the north, First Street to the east, and T Street to the south. The block is the northern part of Akridge’s 100 V Street project, which was initially designed to be a secure complex for a federal tenant. In exchange for the two-acre parcel, Akridge will get the Reeves Center building at 14th and U streets, NW, a functionally obsolete building in a rapidly developing part of the city. The employees at the current Reeves building would be relocated to a new Reeves complex to be built in Anacostia at Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road, SE.  Meanwhile, Akridge would still retain the southern two blocks of their 9-acre site in Buzzard Point, which presumably would be developed as a mixed use project similar to what they have planned to the north of Nationals Park on Half Street, SE instead of a secure federal complex. A rendering was displayed at the press conference of their proposed development on 14th Street, NW, but not for their remaining land at 100 V Street.  It sounds like they got a great deal.  

Stadium footprint is highlighted in red. A future streetcar station will be located adjacent to the stadium.

Agreements have not been reached yet with Pepco or Mark Ein (owner of the Washington Kastles franchise), the other two private landowners at the stadium site. While the term sheet dictates that the District must come to an agreement with Akridge and Ein by January 1, 2014, there is no deadline for an agreement with Pepco on the operating substation since it’s expected that it will take longer to reach consensus for that parcel. The stadium design will allow construction of the playing field to be complete and operational without the substation block, which is on the southeastern block of the four-block stadium site.

Aerial view of the stadium. Courtesy of Gensler

The team will be permitted to develop ancillary uses within the stadium footprint to enhance the game day experience (retail, hotel, etc.), but that development should be designed in such a way that it provides amenities to the surrounding neighborhoods on non-game days. From the looks of the overhead rendering, the playing field will take up two blocks from R Street to T Street and one block from 2nd Street to First Street, so the stadium can be built even if Pepco doesn’t give up their land. First Street will curve towards Half Street north of T Street and appears to be a pedestrian plaza (at least on game days). Ancillary development will occur on the east side of the stadium footprint from First Street to Half Street.

The National Defense University at Fort McNair is across the street from the stadium site.

The term sheet states that the District will “pursue (i) re-sequencing options so as to advance construction of the Buzzard Point/Downtown streetcar line and (ii) the construction of a streetcar stop adjacent to the Stadium Site.”  No details are mentioned whether the streetcar line would be completed before the stadium is completed in 2016.  The reconstruction of Maine Avenue for The Wharf project will be going on before then, so I imagine streetcar tracks could be installed at that time for the portion of the line from 6th Street to 7th Street. The District will not provide parking spaces at the site and it’s unknown how many parking spaces will be provided on site by the team for fans.

Night time rendering of stadium. Courtesy of HKS.

At least 51% of the jobs at the stadium (excluding United players, coaches, training staff, and front office management) will go to District residents. In addition, at least 35% of operation contracts for the stadium, including security, food service, janitorial services, etc., shall go to businesses certified by DSLBD. Throughout the term of the ground lease, the team is not permitted to leave the District of Columbia or move its principal offices outside of the city. In addition, the team must make reasonable efforts to locate its practice facilities within the city. The terms of the ground lease are still being negotiated, but it will most likely be for the estimated useful like of the stadium (25 to 35 years).

DC United Managing Partner Jason Levien and Mayor Gray sign the term sheet.

Upcoming milestones for the project include:
  • October 1, 2013: A transaction agreement will need to be completed that explicitly states the terms between the District and DC United.
  • January 1, 2014: The District must have site control of the stadium site, except for the Pepco substation block, as well as DC Council approval and Congressional approval (if necessary). DC United must provide evidence that it has the ability to fund the construction of the stadium within 30 days of the District completing the above tasks.
  • March 1, 2015: The District must have the site prepared for construction, including infrastructure work and utility relocation, demolition of existing buildings on the stadium site (except for the Pepco substation), environmental remediation, as well as any street or alley closings.  In addition, DC United must have obtained all Zoning Commission and Zoning Adjustment approvals, as well as advanced the stadium design at least to the design development completion level.
  • July 1, 2015: DC United needs to enter into a construction contract for the stadium.
  • January 1, 2017: The stadium shall be substantially complete, but both parties are aiming for completion by March 1, 2016, in time for the beginning of the 2016 MLS season.
If the two parties do not reach the milestone dates, there are options available for either party to walk away from the deal.

The press conference and stadium deal has been widely reported in the press.  Here are links to some of the articles:

The New Southwest

Too much to fit on one map.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Washington Kastles Head to Playoffs

The Washington Kastles have secured a first place finish in the Eastern Conference with a regular season record of 12-2 and will host the Eastern Conference Championship this evening against the Boston Lobsters at Kastles Stadium at The Wharf.  The Kastles beat the Lobsters last night in the regular season finale 25-9, so tonight will be a rematch for the two teams.

2012 Mylan WTT Champions meet President Obama.

The season began with history being made as the Kastles broke the Los Angeles Lakers' long-standing record of consecutive wins by a professional sports team.  The unbeaten streak ended at 34 wins and after a two-game skid, the team rebounded and secured the top seed in the Eastern Conference (as well as the best record in the league).  The two-time defending Mylan WTT champions begin the quest for a three-peat tonight at 7pm.  If the Kastles win tonight, they will host the Mylan WTT Finals on Sunday, July 28.  Tickets are available.

Oval Office photo courtesy of Washington Kastles

A Couple Quick Items: Waterfront Academy Info Sessions, SW Duck Pond Ice Cream Social

Waterfront Academy, the new Montessori dual immersion private school opening this fall on South Capitol Street, will have more parent information sessions over the next week.  Below are the times for the information sessions:
  • Thursday, July 25 at 9:30am
  • Saturday, July 27 at 2pm
  • Monday, July 29 at 9:30am
  • Wednesday, July 31 at 9:30am
All of the information sessions will be held at Lot 38, located at 1001 2nd Street, SE.

A community open house and ice cream social will be held this evening at the Southwest Duck Pond at 6th and I streets from 6pm to 7:30pm. Free ice cream will be provided by the Neighbors of SW Duck Pond and information tables will be set up by neighborhood organizations, including Amidon-Bowen PTA, ANC 6D, CBCC, DC Sail, Friends of the SW Library, Girl Scout Troop 4298, Neighbors of SW Duck Pond, PAWS of Southwest, Southwest Chamber Players, SWNA, Southwest Playground Project, SW Gardens, and Waterfront Academy.

The Little Farm Stand is back this season at the SW Duck Pond and will be held on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm through November.  Fresh, local organic produce from Loudoun County will be for sale, along with farm-baked pies, preserves, and honey.  Email to join the weekly list serve of fresh offerings and pre-order your selection.  Aya Community Markets also has a farm stand on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm on the grounds of Christ United Methodist Church at 900 4th Street.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tentative Deal for New DC United Stadium


Who says nothing gets done in DC over the summer?  The Washington Post reports that District officials and DC United have reached a tentative deal to build a new $300 million stadium for the team in Buzzard Point, a few blocks southwest of Nationals Park at 2nd and R streets.  DC United currently plays at RFK Stadium, which is more than 50 years old. The area where the new stadium is planned is currently dominated by industrial uses and is adjacent to Fort McNair. The new stadium will seat between 20,000 and 25,000 people and can host other events besides MLS matches. The Post’s story is ahead of an official announcement on Thursday.

Aerial view of Buzzard Point looking southwest.

While metro access is not ideal compared to RFK – the nearest Green line stations are several blocks away – a new streetcar line is planned to run near the new stadium. In addition, there will be limited parking available at the stadium due to the tight footprint; however, parking lots used for Nationals games could presumably be used by United fans when the Nationals are not playing.

The new DC United stadium would be only a few blocks from Nationals Park.

The District will split the costs with DC United, with the city paying for land assembly and infrastructure costs while the team will pay for stadium construction. It appears that the city will not have to pay much for the land, but instead will use land swaps to obtain the land it needs. One of the District assets under consideration for a land swap is the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets, NW.  Presumably, the Reeves Center would be swapped for land owned by Akridge at 100 V Street Additional information about the tentative deal from the article:
D.C. United would be granted a 25- to 35-year lease for the land and would have the opportunity to develop restaurants, shops and possibly a hotel along Half Street. A sales and use tax abatement worth as much as $2.6 million in its first year is also a part of the tentative deal.
The earliest the stadium would open is 2016. Perhaps one day, Potomac Avenue, which will connect the two stadiums, could become an entertainment district lined with shops and restaurants, a far cry from what the area looks like now. There will most likely be a lot of coverage of this stadium deal over the coming days, weeks, and months, so stay tuned!

Renderings courtesy of HKS and Gensler

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Town Center East Designated Historic

Last month, the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) designated both multifamily buildings at Town Center East and the grounds as historic.  It has also requested that the nomination for historic preservation be forwarded to the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings, located on 3rd Street between K Street and M Street, were designed by I.M. Pei and built in 1960-61.   Originally built as apartment buildings, Waterfront Tower was converted to condos in 2009. Meanwhile, 1001 at Waterfront was last renovated prior to its sister building’s conversion, but has remained as apartments. The two buildings at Town Center are the mirror image of the two apartment buildings to the west of Waterfront Station at The View at Waterfront (or Town Center West). Those two buildings are not included in the historic designation. In its ruling, the HPRB determined that Town Center was eligible for historic designation in three categories, including “Architecture and Urbanism”, “Creative Masters”, and “History.”  According to the ruling, “Town Center East is important as one of Washington’s best examples of mid-century Modernism, and certainly among the best in Southwest.” 

The owners at Waterfront Tower, along with the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly, applied for historic designation in response to a PUD submitted by The Bernstein Companies to build two large multifamily buildings on the parking lots of the existing Pei buildings and a smaller building on the courtyard separating the two existing buildings. It was reported in the Washington City Paper about the tension between Bernstein and the Waterfront Tower owners. With the historic designation in place, Bernstein will need to alter its PUD and have it approved by the HPRB in addition to the Zoning Commission.

Original design of Town Center PUD.

In recent years, other residential complexes in Southwest have been designated as historic, including Potomac Place Tower, Tiber Island, and more recently, Harbour Square. Other residential complexes built during urban renewal may apply for historic designation as they turn 50 years old. Thus far, individual buildings have been applying for historic designation, but eventually a historic district may be coming to Southwest, which would preserve the mid-century modern architecture of the neighborhood.

Rendering courtesy of Maurice Walters Architect, PC

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More Retailers Coming to L'Enfant Plaza

Construction is well underway on phase 2 of the retail revamp at L'Enfant Plaza.  Over the past month, the pyramid that used to be located in the courtyard has been removed. In its place, an atrium will serve as an entrance to the retail area and provide natural light. Once complete in 2014, there will be double the amount of retail space that's already in place.

Rendering of the new entrance to the retail center.

In the existing retail area, JBG has a scale model of the second phase development and in it includes retailers that may be coming to L'Enfant Plaza. A mix of restaurants, fashion, fitness, and sports bars were shown in the model. Those include: Cosi, Burger King, Naan and Beyond, Dress Barn, PNC Bank, Chick-fil-A, Anytime Fitness (a 24-hour gym), Firehouse Subs, Phillips, Panda Express, Einstein Brothers, Ben & Jerry's, a Japanese restaurant, GNC, Croutons (a west coast fast casual restaurant), Crisp and Juicy (Peruvian chicken restaurant), and Green Turtle. Judging from the amount of people who are in line for lunch at the first phase retail on a daily basis, there's more demand for restaurants at L'Enfant Plaza.  Meanwhile, renovations are set to begin this month on the north office tower, similar to the work already done on the east tower.

Rendering courtesy of SmithGroup JJR

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Private School Opening This Fall

A new private school will open its doors this fall on South Capitol Street.  According to the press release, Waterfront Academy is a dual immersion (Spanish and English) faith-based Montessori school with emphasis on charity and stewardship.  The school will be located at 1225 South Capitol Street, next door to the BARJ center and catty corner to Nationals Park.  Waterfront Academy is currently accepting applications for both Primary (ages 2.5-6) and Lower Elementary (ages 6-9) students.  Applications can be submitted online and are due by July 31.  Tuition for the 2013-14 school year is as follows:
Primary                                                 $12,000
Lower Elementary                                  $14,000
After School (until 6pm)                          $300/month
Part-time Tues/Thurs (ages 2.5-4)            $4,800
Part-time Mon/Wed/Fri (ages 2.5-4)         $7,200

Friday, July 12, 2013

Another Parking Lot for South Capitol Street

I'm starting to play catch up on items I missed while on vacation in Costa Rica. The Washington Business Journal reports that a permit has been issued for Warring Sons Inc. to create a 42-space parking lot at 1323 South Capitol Street.  The site is located to the north of Camden South Capitol and was most recently used as a staging area while the apartment building was under construction. On the other side of the lot are row homes. A for-sale sign has been posted on the lot for at least a couple of years.  Representatives from Camden Property Trust have indicated that they will not be building a second phase to Camden South Capitol on the site. Perhaps that site will one day be developed as something besides a parking lot.  In somewhat related news, a demolition permit was issued for the Grayton Plumbing building adjacent to Camden South Capitol on O Street. Camden purchased the building and will demolish it to provide a dog park and an additional point of egress for their residents. 

Grayton Plumbing building on O Street.