Tuesday, November 24, 2015

400 E Street Ribbon Cutting

District officials, FEMS, E Street Development Group, and members of the community gathered at 400 E Street to celebrate the opening of a mixed-use development, including a new Engine 13 firehouse, Hyatt Place hotel, KidPower headquarters, and ground floor retail. Back in the summer, I got a tour of the project while it was still under construction. FEMS will be moving to the new firehouse sometime over the next month or so, while Hyatt Place is already accepting guests.

The project started construction a little less than two years ago; however, it has been planned for several years. In fact, my very first post on this blog in 2008 had to do with DMPED’s solicitation of development proposals for 400 E Street and a nearby parcel at 6th and E streets. The developers will start designing the second phase of development starting in 2016, with construction likely beginning in 2017.

Below are some photos from the ribbon-cutting.

Geoff Griffis from CityPartners
Mayor Muriel Bowser

Ward 6 Council Member Charles Allen
FEMS Chief Gregory Dean

Here are a few interior photos of the firehouse:

Foam unit
Fire poles

Inside the firehouse

 Interior photos of Hyatt Place:

Gallery Market
Fitness center

Reception area of hotel
Conference room
Business center

Exterior photos:

Building exterior
View from City Bar

City Bar will open in spring

Pool on the third floor

View to the south
Exterior sign

Friday, November 13, 2015

Retail Replaced by Residential at Camden South Capitol

It appears that the retail space on the ground floor of Camden South Capitol will instead be used as residential. It was reported in the Washington Business Journal that a permit was granted to convert the 4,382 SF of ground floor retail into five apartments. These will be the only residential units in the building that front South Capitol Street. Camden South Capitol opened at the northwest corner of South Capitol and O streets in 2013. At the time, the developer was hoping to attract a restaurant to the space, located across the street from Nationals Park. On the same block as Camden South Capitol, the planned residential building just to the north of Camden South Capitol plans to include ground floor retail.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pepco to Increase Name Recognition in Buzzard Point

In addition to a new substation, Pepco is planning to place its name on a few other pieces of real estate in Buzzard Point. According to the Washington Business Journal, the utility company paid the District $25 million in a sponsorship deal which would allow the following in Buzzard Point, among other neighborhoods across the city: 
  • Rename a four-block stretch of Half Street between Potomac Avenue and V Street as “Pepco Place” along with new signage. 
  • Designate the planned traffic oval on South Capitol Street at the foot of the new Frederick Douglass Bridge as “Pepco Park.” 

The DC Council authorized DPR to allow corporate sponsorship of its facilities when it passed its 2012 budget. Then-council member Muriel Bowser sponsored the original legislation. According to DCist
Buried in the 209-page-long Budget Support Act, the provision would allow the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation to "contract for, pursuant to all applicable contracting and procurement guidelines, advertisements and sponsorship for recreation centers, fields, pools, and play courts within the Department's inventory."…The provision would also allow for the establishment of "friends groups" -- organizations of residents willing to help maintain their local parks and recreation centers, be it by maintaining them or raising funds to help improve them. Additionally, fees gathered from developers seeking exemptions from zoning laws will go towards parks and recreation centers located in the ANC where the development is to take place. 
In Southwest, “friends groups” have been created for multiple DPR facilities, including the SW Duck Pond and the 3rd and I Streets Park, and one may be formed for Randall Recreation Center. Meanwhile, Under Armour will have its logo on the new turf field it’s helping to finance at Randall Field, which is currently under construction. 

Most of the $25 million contributed by Pepco has already been used by the District government to place in escrow, covering the cost of acquiring Akridge’s two-acre parcel in the planned soccer stadium footprint through eminent domain. According to the Bowser administration, the Pepco sponsorship deal is separate from negotiations to support the Pepco-Exelon merger, but yesterday at a press conference in Buzzard Point by environmentalists and good government groups, they claim the two are related and are calling for an ethics investigation, as reported in The Washington Post.

Renderings courtesy of DDOT and DGS

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Greenleaf Redevelopment Meeting Summary

A public meeting was held last month by DCHA, master planner Perkins Eastman, and consultant HR&A Advisors to discuss the redevelopment of Greenleaf. Unfortunately I was out of town, but slides from the October 24 meeting have become available. From what I’ve heard, over 100 people attended the meeting at Westminster Presbyterian Church, including Greenleaf residents, the greater Southwest community, and public officials. 

Greenleaf stretches 15 acres across several city blocks on either side of M Street and includes 493 public housing units in 23 buildings. The majority of the units are 2BR apartments, but the mix ranges from 1BR up to 5BR units. 

The purpose of the Greenleaf Redevelopment Plan is to develop a vision for the redevelopment of the Greenleaf community. It will also inform the criteria DCHA uses to evaluate redevelopment proposals from private developers. In addition the plan will establish the feasibility of different approaches based on community goals, market studies, financial feasibility, design guidelines, and the construction plan. At the meeting, there were five design principles discussed which will be used in the redevelopment of Greenleaf: 
  1. Utilize a mix of tall and low buildings. 
  2. Create a well-defined public green space. 
  3. Use trees to beautify, help make place, and create a healthier living environment. 
  4. Connect the new Greenleaf to other areas of the city. 
  5. All new construction must first and foremost be exemplary urban architecture. 

The October meeting was the first chance for the greater Southwest community to get involved in the redevelopment process, but Greenleaf residents have been engaged over the past year or so. The redevelopment plan will be created over the next 6-9 months with two additional community meetings planned in the interim. The final plan is expected to be completed sometime in mid-2016. After that, an RFP will be released, which will take another 6-9 months to receive responses, get community input, and select a winning developer. Then, developer negotiations will take a year to 18 months to complete, but design and permitting can be done concurrently. After that construction can begin on the first phases, which can take 2-3 years to complete. Other phases will be completed depending on market conditions.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Buzzard Point Marina Meeting Scheduled

A community meeting will be held by DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton on November 23 at 6:30pm to discuss the closing of Buzzard Point Marina, which is scheduled to occur at the end of the year. Buzzard Point Marina is located on V Street, adjacent to a site proposed as a condominium project called Marina Place. It is one of two marinas on Buzzard Point along the Anacostia River - the other is James Creek Marina, According to Norton’s office: 
The meeting will allow affected residents to give feedback and receive information on the upcoming closure. The marina is in dire shape and needs substantial repairs, and economic constraints prevent the marina from being profitable in its current state, according to National Park Service officials. 
The meeting will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church.