As Towing Company Leaves, Area Lighter in Light Industrial

Buildings that house garages and a deli along N Street could be demolished to make way for a mixed-use development.
Buildings that house garages and a deli along N Street could be demolished to make way for a mixed-use development. (By Jacqueline Dupree -- The Washington Post)
By Jacqueline Dupree
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ballpark and Beyond is from Jacqueline Dupree's blog on development in Near Southeast Washington, an area between Capitol Hill and the Anacostia River that is being transformed by the construction of the Nationals baseball stadium.

The departure of "light industrial uses" from Near Southeast continues, as ANA Towing has closed its lot on Half Street SE between I and K. A sign is posted indicating that it's moved to 1620 Second St. SW, down at Buzzard Point, news that did not please the two young folks on foot trying to claim their car while I was checking out the lot.

With ANA gone, and with the clearing out a few weeks earlier of the firewood company at First and I, this leaves just the building that houses Four Star Cab and Merritt Cab at First and K, and its days are numbered, as well.

This block was purchased in April for $64 million by Transwestern subsidiary DRI Development Services; a page on DRI's Web site says that an 825,000-square-foot office/retail project will be developed in four phases, with the first expected to start construction in 2008 and to be completed in late 2009. The project is scheduled for completion in 2012.

More Demolitions in the Works

In what can't be considered a surprise, raze-permit applications were filed in June for the remaining buildings along N and First streets and Cushing Place SE, in the block just north of the stadium. This site is where the three families who own the lots are joining together to develop a combined office, residential and retail project that would stretch from M to N streets, next to the big hole in the ground where Monument Realty's Half Street project is already underway. (A raze permit for the shuttered Normandie Liquors building at First and M, part of the same three-owner development site, was filed separately a few months earlier.)

No word on when these demolitions or the development will begin, but I would imagine there's some interest in seeing these buildings razed before Opening Day 2008, given their prominent location.

One more building that could be gone within the next few weeks is the D.C. Foreign Car garage on K Street, between Half and South Capitol. It was purchased in July for $7.6 million as part of Opus East's $41.5 million acquisition of the 1015 Half St. project, a 440,000-square-foot office building; construction is expected to begin in October.

These planned demolitions will add to what's been quite a run of demolitions in Near Southeast. The now-removed green-and-white trailer that housed ANA Towing's office is by my count the 28th building to disappear from Near Southeast in 2007, with close to 140 buildings torn down since 2000.

The demolition has been mostly low-rise buildings, and is small potatoes compared with the impending demolition of the 10-story old Arthur Capper Senior public-housing building at 601 L St. SE. All of its residents have been moved to other facilities (such as the new Capper Senior No. 1 building a few blocks away at Fifth Street and Virginia Avenue), and preparations are being made to bring down the old building late this year.

A building permit approved Aug. 17 tells us that interior demolition to handle asbestos abatement, which needs to be dealt with before the building can be demolished, will be starting soon.

Forest City Washington has plans to build a 500,000-square-foot office building on the site as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment; but with no timeline for the start of construction, look for a surface parking lot in the interim to help ease the Nationals ballpark parking crunch.

Spay and Neuter Center

From a Washington Humane Society news release, word arrives that the National Capital Area Spay and Neuter Center under construction at 1001 L St. SE will be opening in September, and that a ribbon-cutting ceremony has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 4.

According to the release, "the new facility will address the desperate need for low-cost spay/neuter of domestic animals in our region with a goal of providing sterilization surgery on up to 75 animals every day, five days a week."

The center will also be part of "CatNiPP, the Cat Neighborhood Partnership Program, by sterilizing stray and feral cats to humanely reduce the area's outdoor cat population through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)," a program that aims to "safely trap feral cats, spay or neuter, vaccinate and 'eartip' them, and return the healthy cats to their outdoor homes." Shelters from around the region will transport animals to the facility. For more information, go to

Jacqueline Dupree, a Post staff member and Ward 6 resident, has been tracking changes in the area since 2003. For updates and links to documents and sites mentioned here, visit

© 2007 The Washington Post Company