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A Mad Dash To Prepare Parking

By Jacqueline Dupree
Thursday, March 20, 2008

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

While the finishing touches are being put on Nationals Park to prepare for Opening Night on March 30, work is also down to the wire on as many as 11 temporary surface parking lots being built in Near Southeast for stadium-goers.

Three of these temporary lots are being built on land within the old Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg public housing boundaries, and the D.C. Housing Authority has chosen U Street Parking to manage them. U Street, a certified D.C. Local, Small, Disadvantaged Business, handles the parking at RFK Stadium, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and many swank nightclubs that geeky neighborhood bloggers will never get inside, such as Love and Ultra.

These Capper lots will offer monthly accounts and possibly some cash parking, especially now that the new ballpark-area on-street parking restrictions (and the enforcement expected to accompany them) are taking away the bountiful free street parking that local residents and workers have gotten used to.

The Nationals have indicated that season ticket holders' demand for parking spaces near the stadium has not used up all of the 4,000-plus spaces cobbled together, so it is possible that fans may be able to pay to park in nearby lots on a per-game basis. But because additional congestion could be a problem if too many people drive to the area without having confirmed parking spaces waiting for them, the Nationals are looking at how best to offer these cash-lot spaces, perhaps by requiring that they be bought online beforehand. Free parking and shuttle service will be available at RFK, and Metro's Navy Yard station is one block north of the new ballpark.

The Zoning Commission is having another hearing Monday on whether to allow temporary surface parking lots, if needed, on additional blocks on the west side of South Capitol Street, where none has been built. ANC 6D voted unanimously in February to oppose this potential zoning change. Monday's hearing is at 6:30 p.m. at 441 Fourth St. NW, Suite 220 S., and can be watched on a live webcast at http://dcoz.dc.gov.

RiverFront Site Under Review Again

Of all the development sites in Near Southeast, the concrete plant known for years as "Florida Rock" on the Anacostia River directly south of Nationals Park is enduring the longest and most tortuous path to revitalization, having begun its zoning approvals trek in the late 1990s.

Tonight, the Zoning Commission will have a hearing on the latest designs for this 5.8-acre site between South Capitol Street and First Street SE, owned by FRP Development and now being called "RiverFront on the Anacostia."

There would be four buildings to be built in phases, totaling 323,000 square feet of residential space and 465,000 square feet of office space, plus a 246,000-square-foot hotel and 80,000 square feet of retail along Potomac Avenue and in glass-enclosed pedestrian areas between the buildings.

On the site's east side would be a park, now called "Anacostia Place," directly across from the ballpark's grand staircase at First Street and Potomac Avenue SE and adjacent to the city's new Diamond Teague Park, where water taxi piers are being built later this year. The site's 800 feet of waterfront would have a 75-foot-deep esplanade with separate walking and biking trails.

RiverFront's developers have upped their proffered contribution to the construction of Diamond Teague Park from $350,000 to $800,000, and are committing to having 51 percent of RiverFront's new hires be District residents. Nearly 9 percent of its residential space is to be set aside for those making up to 80 percent of the area's median income. The project also includes green roofs for the buildings and biofiltration of the storm water runoff.

The Office of Planning has recommended approval of these plans, and ANC 6D voted in January to support the project.

Tonight's hearing is at 6:30 at 441 Fourth St. NW, Suite 220 S., and can be watched on a live webcast at http://dcoz.dc.gov.

Construction on the Anacostia Place park and the eastern office building could begin in fall 2009, depending on how quickly the Zoning Commission rules on the plans.

For architect's renderings of the plans for the RiverFront site, and for more information on other projects in the area, go tohttp://JDLand.com. Dupree, a Post staff member, has been tracking the neighborhood's changes since 2003.

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