Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Alleged Museum Shooter Indicted

According to The Washington Post, alleged U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum shooter James von Brunn was indicted today by a federal grand jury. von Brunn was charged with seven counts, including the first-degree murder of museum guard Stephen T. Johns back on June 10. If convicted, von Brunn could face life in prison or even the death penalty.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Could DC United Move to Buzzard Point?

DC United is in talks again with the District government for a new soccer stadium, after their plan to move to Poplar Point in SE fell through for the second time earlier this year, and was rebuffed by Prince George’s County over plans to move there. One of the sites that have come up, according to the Breaking Ground blog in the Washington Business Journal, is Buzzard Point, specifically, Akridge’s 9-acre site at 100 V Street. In the WBJ article, a representative from Akridge confirmed that DC United inquired about several of their properties. The article notes that other sizable holdings of Akridge’s include 15-acre Burnham Place in NoMa and 136 acres along the Dulles Greenway in Virginia. 100 V Street is close to Nationals Park, which would give the area a Meadowlands-esque stadium district feel to it, and is fairly close to the Waterfront and Navy Yard Metro stations. Neighbors may have a problem with having two stadiums in close proximity to each other, with the potential to cause major traffic problems if both teams have a game on the same day. A soccer stadium might not even be able to fit on the site. Although 100 V Street is three blocks long, it is only one block wide, which may be too small for a soccer stadium. Akridge built Gallery Place near the Verizon Center and is developing part of Half Street near Nationals Park, so it’s possible they may get involved with DC United at V Street, or some other venue in the metro area (I think a more plausible site would be Burnham Place, due to its proximity to Union Station and potential to connect with the H Street NE streetcar line). The current plan for 100 V Street is to be built as a secure federal campus, since it has natural (water on two sides) and man-made barriers (Fort McNair). What would be preferable for 100 V Street…a federal campus, or a soccer stadium?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Come to SW, Taylor Gourmet!

In this week's Washington Business Journal, it was reported that Taylor Gourmet, an Italian gourmet deli and market, will open a second location at the City Vista development in NW. The original Taylor Gourmet is located along H Street NE and opened in 2008. Taylor Gourmet sells Philly-style hoagies, market items like pasta, gelato, and imported cured meats & cheeses, as well as Italian wine and beer. If you haven't been there before, it's worth a visit. I went for the first time today and had the 9th Street Italian hoagie. It was one of the better hoagies I've had in DC. By the way, they also deliver in SW. In the WBJ article, it states that owners Casey Patten and David Mazza are scouting other locations for the concept. Here's a suggestion...open one here in Southwest, perhaps at Waterfront Station. So far, Safeway and CVS are the only two retailers that have committed to open at phase one of Waterfront Station, which is scheduled to be complete during the first half of 2010. The developers of Waterfront Station are looking for local retailers to fill in some of the space and Taylor Gourmet fits the bill. We already have a couple Potbelly's, Subway, and Quiznos in the neighborhood, but Taylor Gourmet is more than just a sandwich shop. What do you think?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wells Chats With GGW

Yesterday, Greater Greater Washington blog hosted a live chat with Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells. Some Southwest-related issues were brought up during the chat, including affordable housing at the Southwest Waterfront, delays at the CFL and Engine 13, as well as the prospect for streetcars. Could streetcars one day rumble glide along the streets of Southwest? Before that can happen, a lot needs to happen. For one, the city, according to Wells, needs to come up with a plan for the next generation of mass transit, as well as figure out how to finance these transit options. In addition, the city needs to figure out how they are going to power the planned H Street NE streetcar line (where tracks are about to be laid) and the alignment of the Anacostia line (CSX tracks vs. running along city streets). Above is a photo of the Maine Avenue corridor, one of the areas of the city Wells thinks has room for dedicated streetcar lanes. In two of the renderings of the new Southwest Waterfront, streetcars are visible running along Maine Avenue, as seen here and here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Preview Reception at Constitution Center

As I was walking to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro last night, I noticed there was a preview party being held at Constitution Center, and earlier today, Real Estate Bisnow reported on the reception. The Bisnow article has a photo of the 1-acre central courtyard, which has plenty of vegetation and a water feature. While no tenants have been signed yet, the article states that the auditorium space will be meet SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities) standards, which means construction standards are so strict that both houses of Congress could meet there and get top security briefings. It's more than likely that a government tenant will eventually take the space, but the question is...which one?

Yard Sale at Potomac Place This Weekend

There will be a yard sale this Saturday at Potomac Place Tower, located at 800 4th Street. As a part of the yard sale, SW resident Audrina Lange will have a booth and will participate in Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale, which aims to end childhood hunger. Her booth will be open from 12pm - 4pm. Here's a link to her bake sale page.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sidewalk Reopens

On my way to work yesterday, I noticed the sidewalk along the D Street elevation of Constitution Center has been reopened. The sidewalk was temporarily moved to the street during construction and jersey barriers separated pedestrians from vehicle traffic. Also, as seen from the photo, new black Washington Globe lamps have been installed. Constitution Center is scheduled to deliver later this year; however, no tenants have been lined up yet.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Safeway Seeks Liquor License

In anticipation of opening its new urban-style store next year at Waterfront Station, Safeway is petitioning the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to obtain a liquor license and the hearing is scheduled for August 24th. A retailer’s Class B license will allow them to sell beer and wine, just like they do at some other Safeway locations in the city, including the new urban-style Mount Vernon Triangle store. However, first they need to get voluntary approval from ANC 6D. Back in September, Southwest...TLQTC reported that the ANC expanded their Safeway Task Force to help deal with some of the deficiencies at the current store, which include increasing safety in and around the store, opening more check-out lines during peak times, opening restrooms to customers, and properly labeling items with the correct prices. Since most of these issues have yet to be resolved, the ANC will probably use the voluntary agreement process as a bargaining tool to get Safeway to comply with their demands for better customer service in the current store. The ANC will discuss the liquor license at tonight’s ANC meeting, which starts at 7pm at St. Augustine’s Church. The agenda can be found here. Public input in the meeting is encouraged!

Update: At tonight's ANC meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to protest Safeway's request for a liquor license. This will give the ANC time to negotiate a voluntary agreement with Safeway that will benefit the community. In addition, the commissioners voted to hold a town hall meeting sometime in September so more members of the community can express their opinions about the pending liquor license application for the new store.

West Nile Virus Found Near Fort McNair

WUSA reports that the DC Department of Health have determined that three mosquito pools near Fort McNair have tested positive for West Nile Virus. So far, no cases of the virus have been reported in DC this year. Residents are encouraged to remove standing water near their homes to help reduce the spread of the virus. Last month, the pond at Town Center Park contained standing water due to deferred maintenance and a resident posted a sign (pictured above) warning about the mosquito larvae collecting in the pond. Since then, DPR has repaired the pond at the park and the fountains are functional again.

Update: Within the past couple of weeks, the fountains have stopped working again and need to be replaced. DPR will install new fountains, but in the meantime, the pond will need to be drained since the water is now stagnant and can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shooting in SW - Suspect Arrested

First came news from The Washington Post (via DCist) that a 16-year old male named Kevin D. Allen was shot and killed on Thursday. He was found in the middle of the afternoon in an alley on the unit block of N Street. Then, on Saturday, the Post (also via DCist) reported that a suspect was arrested. According to the article, MPD chief Cathy Lanier stated in an interview that the suspect was arrested with help from some tips from the public.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Firehouse Agreement Reached

On July 14th, the D.C. Council will vote to approve the land disposition agreement between the city and E Street Development, according to an article in this week's Washington Business Journal (subscribers only). Back in April, DMPED chose E Street Development over two other teams to build a new DCFD Engine 13 firehouse at the corner of 4th & E Street. In addition, the development team will build two office buildings - one on top of the new firehouse and the other at the site of the current Engine 13 on the corner of 6th & E Street. E Street Development will partner with two local community organizations, including Kid Power Inc. and D.C. Central Kitchen, as well as seek LEED-silver certification, use green roof technology, and provide neighborhood-serving retail along E Street. The WBJ article states that the developers will provide the city with an upfront ground lease payment of $2.5 million and construction of the firehouse (phase I of development) could begin in August 2010. In total, the project will cost $193 million to build.

Update: A couple members of the D.C. Council decided to delay the vote on the land agreement until after their August recess, according to the WBJ.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Couple WBJ News Items

- In last week's Breaking Ground Blog from the Washington Business Journal, it was reported that the National Capital Planning Commission has put out a contract to study the transportation overhaul of 10th Street, which goes from the Smithsonian Castle to Banneker Overlook. This is one of the first steps needed before any redevelopment can occur on the corridor, as described in the recently approved Monumental Core Framework Plan. Back in April, Southwest...TLQTC described the plans for the Southwest Rectangle portion of the plan, which includes the 10th Street corridor. (The above rendering is a south view of the redeveloped 10th Street, looking towards Banneker Overlook, from the Monumental Core Framework Plan.)

- In today's Breaking Ground Blog, the WBJ reports that organizers of the National Women's History Museum sent a letter to Congress urging approval of the National Women’s History Museum Act of 2009, which will permit the General Services Administration (the real estate arm of the federal government) to sell a site at 12th Street & Independence Avenue to the organization so the museum can be built. The letter to Congress is part of the Right Here, Right Now campaign that organizers have implemented to get the public engaged in the quest to get legislation approved. Last August, Southwest...TLQTC wrote a post on the status of the museum, but since then much hasn't changed. (Above is a map of the location of the proposed museum, from the National Women's History Museum website.)