Thursday, June 22, 2006

New condominiums to intrude upon
South Capitol Frederick Douglass Mall
right of way

Recent developments in the design of the building along the northern edge of the Nationals Stadium with indoor parking, will add significant amounts of retail and residential space, reportedly including 600+ condominiums.

With this development extending east-west along the south side of N Street between South Capitol Street and 1st Street, its western half intrudes into the space west of Half Street SE that would be needed for the South Capitol Frederick Douglass Mall, as shown in the 1997 NCPC publication "Extending the Legacy: Planning America's Capital for the 21st Century". This would likely place 300 dwellings with a need for future eminent domain for public use.

“I strongly believe that it’s in the best long-term interest of the District to put these parking spaces underground, not above-ground as is frequently done in the suburbs,” said Mayor Williams. “It will serve the ballpark as well as the surrounding community for us to place this parking garage below ground so that we can build a productive mix of affordable housing, office, retail or residential development on top of the project. If we put the cars underground, as we do throughout most of the city, the District will reap more long-term benefits and millions of dollars in tax revenue. I want to encourage everyone involved in the undertaking to keep their eye on the big picture; we aren’t just building a stadium. We are creating a healthy cluster of development that will raise the standard of living for all our residents, reshape both sides of the Anacostia River and help make our city a livable and walkable place for the next 100 years. We should not sacrifice that vision for short-term gains.”

DC Mayor Anthony Williams; June 12, 2006

Days after DC Mayor Williams reiterated his support for underground parking at the controversially located Nationals Stadium, a Washington DC developer Herb Miller proposed 800,000 square feet of condominiums and retail space and hotel, in a pair pf structures

Pending approval from the D.C. Council, Miller's Western Development will buy property on the north side of the stadium and build more than 900 parking spaces -- four levels above ground and several more below. Western will then build about 660 condos and 50,000 square feet of retail space as well a 180-room hotel around and above the garages.

Miller's team will pay $82 per developable square foot for the right to build on the site, says Adrian Washington, CEO of the Anacostia Waterfront Corp., which has been working on the city's behalf to reach a deal. But the final price will be determined after Western and city officials reach a deal on how much affordable housing Miller will build at the site, Washington says.

Miller declined to identify the hotel operator, but said it is a New-York based company that would be new to the Washington market.

Miller's proposal was announced June 20, just six days before the city's Zoning Commission will review the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Corp.'s application to build the $611 million stadium. Zoning laws say parking at the stadium must be built underground. But the sports commission's $21 million provides only enough money for above-ground structures, which were roundly criticized by zoning officials during a May meeting.

At the same time, the Lerner family, which is buying the Nationals, prefers above-ground parking. Stan Kasten, who is expected to become the National's president, says the owner's chief concern is that the stadium -- and the parking garages -- are built on time and on budget. The stadium is scheduled to open in 2008.

From Jacqueline Dupree’s Near Southeast DC Redevelopment:

UPDATE: Neither the Saturday WashTimes or WashPost has a story on the plan to sell the land to Western Development - but the WashTimes does have a piece on the Nats sale that includes some information on the garages: "The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission [...] is prepared to direct the construction team, led by Clark Construction, to build parking above ground. But the commission received some assurances from Clark this week that at least part of the parking could be built underground and completed by March 2008, the project's deadline. The Anacostia Waterfront Corp. [...] presented a plan to pay for the construction that would involve payments from developers in exchange for the rights to build on certain parcels of ballpark land. But those plans have yet to be finalized, to the frustration of the Lerner family and members of the sports commission. Talks are ongoing, and a plan could be presented to the D.C. Zoning Commission during a hearing on the entire ballpark plan June 26." Then there's this sentence, which I've not seen elsewhere and, if true, shows why they're really working so hard to find a compromise: "Any above ground parking structures would require special approval from the zoning commission."

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