Navy Yard

Navy Yard Update: Fall 2014

Things just keep getting more and more exciting down in SE! If you haven’t paid Navy Yard and its anchor development, The Yards, a visit in the last few months, here’s a photo tour of some of the exciting new additions to the area:

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Great news for nearby pet-owners! Petco’s boutique spinoff, “Unleashed”, will be opening any day now (pictured above). Below, some shots of the recently-opened Willie’s Brew and ‘Que, which is brought to us by Chef Rock Harper. A Hell’s Kitchen Alum who has done tons of work for DC Central Kitchen (a phenomenal non-profit that is near and dear to my heart), I’ve had the privilege of meeting Rock at many a food event in the past. He is a wonderful person and a talented chef, and I look forward to checking out his restaurant. The menu offers a seriously wide variety of BBQ – from St. Louis ribs to Korean chicken wings – and the space is, well, AWESOME. Floor-to-ceiling windows all the way around, and with ceilings that high, that’s nothing to sneeze at. And you can only imagine how much trouble folks can get into at the giant wraparound bar that anchors the space!

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I love me some good BBQ, but nothing can compete with the power of my sweet tooth. That’s why the addition that I’m most excited about is this one: Ice Cream Jubilee. Opened by a fellow recovering attorney, this shop offers incredibly luscious ice creams in a variety of traditional and deliciously non-traditional flavors. I’m currently torn between the blueberry pie and the caramel popcorn flavors, but at the end of the day, it’s their insanely tasty vanilla that I opt to put into my coffee float. Any shop who can make plain ol’ vanilla ice cream taste THAT good clearly knows what its doing.

My coffee float from Ice Cream Jubilee, featuring their incredibly flavorful vanilla ice cream. SWOON.

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Across from Jubilee you’ll find EVO Furniture Gallery, which bills itself as offering “Affordable Modern Loft Designs Customized to Fit Your Living Space.” Whether their definition of “affordable” matches yours and mine is debatable, but it’s always nice to see new retail in the hood!

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As you can see from this shot, taken with my back to EVO, there is still a lot more to look forward to in Navy Yard. In the distance you can see the VIDA luxury fitness center that opened at the beginning of October, which is attached to a Harris Teeter that is supposed to open today. That construction site is “Parcel N” – it’ll house 327 more apartments and an additional 20,000SF of retail space. It’s set to delivery in 2016. And there are a LOT more residences planned over the next few years, condo and rentals.

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Interested in beating the crowds and moving to Navy Yard now? Click here to see listings in the area. And if you’re lucky enough to already own, now is a GREAT time to sell, before the area is flooded with new inventory. Your place is a hot commodity right now, so shoot me an email if you’re interested in taking advantage of that!

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Finger-Lickin’ Good News for Navy Yard!

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Bonchon, the infamously delicious Korean chicken wing chain, is FINALLY opening up shop in DC! The shops have dotted the MD and VA suburbs for years, teasing Washingtonians from across the border. But at last, it has been confirmed that Bonchon is opening up shop in the District. The news broke today that Bonchon will be opening up at Navy Yard in 2015. Hooray! You can check out the full story from The Washingtonion here.

Get Your Splash On

Splash Zone at Navy Yard!

Splash Zone at Navy Yard!

Summer is here, which means all I want to do is play in water. But sometimes getting all geared up to go to the pool is more than I have the time or energy for. And if I had little ones, I can imagine that it would be nice to have a fun (and free!) alternative to the constant monitoring required at a swimming pool. Enter: DC’s splash parks! These are fantastic mini-waterparks scattered throughout the city that feature jets of water spraying up out of the ground.

Here’s POPville’s great round up of DC Spray Parks:

14th and Park Road Spray Park – 14th Street and Park Road, NW. This fountain has a mosaic tile surface with multiple jets of water. There is seating along the low perimeter wall.

Pros: Easily accessible via public transportation and parking, close to shopping and restaurants
Cons: Very crowded at all times, no shade

Chevy Chase Spray Park (aka Livingston Park) – 5500 41st Street, NW. The spray area has a concrete surface and is within the same fenced area as the playground.

Pros: Large park with a nice playground, shaded
Cons: Can be crowded

Friendship Spray Park (aka Turtle Park) – 4500 Van Ness Street, NW. There are several ground-level fountains that wet most of the 20’ x 20’ enclosed area. There are a couple of benches that are not guaranteed to be out of the spray zone.

Pros: Large park with nice playground and sandbox, shaded, communal toys and tricycles
Cons: Small and basic spray area, tile surface broken, not convenient to public transportation

Palisades Spray Park – 5200 Sherier Place, NW. Ground-level jets, dumping buckets, and a small water slide are on a rubberized surface. There are shaded picnic tables nearby.

Pros: Brand new facility with adjacent playground, shaded, dedicated parking
Cons: Crowded, mixed ages in the same play area can result in roughhousing and little ones not being able to use some features

Petworth Spray Park – 801 Taylor Street, NW. The spray area is enclosed but separate from the playground. The spray area features ground-level jets, dumping buckets, and carwash-style run-throughs. There are several benches.

Pros: Elaborate and large spray area, adjacent playground
Cons: Not shaded

Downtown Silver Spring fountain – 916 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring, MD. There are many ground-level jets on a mosaic surface about 20’ across. There is shaded makeshift seating along the perimeter wall.

Pros: Easily accessible by public transportation and parking, nearby shops and restaurants
Cons: Unenclosed area with many passersby

Westminster Park – 911 Westminster Street NW. Ground-level jets shoot across the area at the center of the park. The water area is in the same fenced area as the playground.

Pros: Shaded, communal toys and tricycles, rubber surface
Cons: Small park

Georgetown Waterfront – 3000 K Street, NW. The waterfront fountain is both pretty and fun. The water on the rubberized surface gets gradually deeper to about 8”.

Pros: Large water area where kids can wade and splash, duck feeding nearby
Cons: Can be difficult or expensive to park

National Zoo American Trail Exhibit – 3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Ground-level jets spray at alternating intervals, and a periodic “high tide” washes over the entire area.

Pros: Kids can splash along side the sea lions
Cons: Small area can get congested, no seating

Yards Park – 355 Water Street, SE. A new waterfront facility. The spray/water play area includes a shallow pool, waterfall, and ground-level jets.

Pros: Large pool doesn’t get too crowded, shaded areas with tables and chairs available
Cons: Driving and parking can be a hassle.

Which Metro Stations Have Incited Developer Bidding Wars?

New development around Metro stations continues to pick up steam (pun fully intended). Major developers have been putting in bids around the Navy Yard, Grosvenor-Strathmore, and Morgan Blvd (out by FedEx Field) metro stations, and the competition is hot. The Washington Post has the full story below:

Developers pursue projects at three Metro stations

By Jonathan O’ConnellPublished: March 30 

John McDonnell/Washington Post – Access to Metro stations is more valuable than ever to real estate developers. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Real estate owned by Metro continues to attract a crowd.

The transit agency this month received seven bids from developers interested in building projects on Metro-owned parking lots, bus bays and other properties around three of its stations.
In November, Metro began a search for companies interested in building on properties the transit agency owns at five stations: Brookland, Navy Yard, Fort Totten, Grosvenor-Strathmore and Morgan Boulevard.Metro’s real estate unit extended the deadline for the Brookland project, but received bids for three others and is beginning to evaluate them, according to Stanley Wall, Metro director of real estate and station planning.

Three companies bid for 4.5 acres at the Grosvenor-Strathmore station, where Metro envisions a project with 475 to 600 residential units: MRP Realty, Four Points and Streetscape Partners. MRP and Four Points are mixed-use developers based in the District. Streetscape Partners built the Symphony Park at Strathmore nearby and is developing a Simon outlet center in Clarksburg,

Another site, an air-conditioning facility by the Navy Yard Metro station, is near Nationals Park. It also attracted three proposals from Akridge, Trammell Crow Co. and a team of MRP and a partner, CAS Riegler Cos, according to Wall. Metro has suggested that developers try to acquire private property next door, which would make the air-conditioning property more valuable.

The largest property, a 37-acre parcel at the Morgan Boulevard station, received one proposal from Trammell Crow. Metro is requiring that any project here replace 608 parking spaces as well as provide another 372 spaces that are currently located at the Capitol Heights station, a requirement that could be expensive.

For all the stations, Metro requires that its existing facilities be replaced after development, usually by moving parking spaces or bus bays underground or into structured parking garages.

At another station, Fort Totten, the cost of replacing Metro’s facilities was so great — likely running $10 million to 15 million — that no developers responded. Metro required a minimum of 422 parking spaces, either underground or in a garage. Wall said the idea to develop at Fort Totten would be set aside until the market improves to the point where there is more interest.

“The biggest issue is the size and scope of our facilities there versus the development potential,” he said.

He also cautioned that just because the agency received interest in the other stations didn’t mean those projects would get built. Any deal for the properties must be approved by Metro’s board of directors.

“Just because we received one development proposal for Morgan Boulevard, for instance, doesn’t mean we’ll move forward,” Wall said.

Metro’s Smart New Strategy

Monday, WMATA launched an active search for companies interested in developing their land near five Metro stations: Brookland, Navy Yard, Fort Totten, Grosvenor-Strathmore and Morgan Boulevard. Um, it’s about damn time, WMATA! According to the article below, this is “an effort to take advantage of some of the boom in development near public transit.” Some of the boom? And why is WMATA acting like the hotness of developments near Metro is a new phenomenon? Metro-accessibility has always been a key factor in property values in the area (closer to Metro, the higher the price!). It’s about time WMATA figured this out and started acting on it! Here’s the piece from the Post:

Metro seeks developers for five sites in Maryland and D.C.

The Bozzuto Group – A rendering of the Monroe Street Market development in Brookland. Metro owns property it would like to develop nearby.

By , Published: November 4 E-mail the writer

Developers have been calling the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to inquire about the transit agency’s properties — many of them surface parking lots in developing neighborhoods — and the agency has responded.

In an effort to take advantage of some of the boom in development near public transit, Metro launched a search Monday for companies interested in building on properties the transit agency owns at five of its stations: Brookland, Navy Yard, Fort Totten, Grosvenor-Strathmore and Morgan Boulevard.

Many of the properties, outlined in a 135-page document the agency posted online Monday, are in neighborhoods where private sector development is already underway or expected shortly, potentially boosting the value of Metro’s parking lots or land. Three of the stations are in D.C., one is in Montgomery County and another is in Prince George’s County.

The largest of the properties, 37 acres at the Morgan Boulevard station in Landover, is one stop from where Maryland and Prince George’s County officials are planning a $645 million regional hospital campus.

In Brookland, Metro is seeking partners for property across from where developers Jim Abdo and Bozzuto Group are developing a $200 million mixed-use project, calledMonroe Street Market, with Catholic University.

Another site, an air conditioning facility near the Navy Yard Metro station, is near Nationals Park and across the street from a vacant warehouse that the federal government said it plans to sell and where some residents are pushing for a food market to open.

With the area’s boom in apartment construction, developers have increasingly been calling Metro to ask about buying or leasing the agency’s properties, according to Stanley Wall, Metro director of real estate and station planning. The Morgan Boulevard property, he said, received an unsolicited development proposal and Wall said he wanted to take advantage of the interest.

“Given that there is so much momentum at this time, we’re trying to take advantage of that,” he said.

Building on top of a Metro station isn’t always easy because it often requires a developer to replace whatever parking or access facilities are there presently, either by building them underground or in a garage.

Disagreements between the agency and developer have thwarted some past public-private development plans. A previous effort at the Navy Yard, for instance, was cancelled. Others, like a development agreement at the Takoma station, have been delayed for years.

To head off problems, Wall said the agency has pre-planned multiple scenarios for Metro’s facilities at each of the stations, giving developers a road map that satisfies Metro’s needs for each property.

“We’ve actually created a couple of development scenarios for each site, so that way you can solve for transit before figuring out what the developers might need,” he said.

Any agreement between a developer and the agency for the five properties would require approval from Metro’s board of directors.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

Whole Foods Signs at Navy Yard!

 

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At last, some resolution to the many rumors flying around about the Austin-based super-grocery’s next DC location. At Monday night’s ANC 6D meeting, Brad Fennell of W.C. Smith announced that his firm has a signed lease with Whole Foods for 800 New Jersey Ave SE (map). Whole Foods did not have a rep at the meeting and so this isn’t an official announcement from them, but it’s certainly solid enough to justify some celebration. Round up your reusable grocery bags and put that kombucha craving to rest – Whole Foods is coming to the hood!

Finally, a Movie Theater on the East Side

Things are looking good for the high-end, 16-screen movie theater that developer Forest City is trying to bring to the Navy Yard area: on Monday, the ANC voted in favor of the development. The theater would be part of a three-block project located just blocks from the ballpark, and would also include 600+ residential units and retail space with river views. Apparently the plans are super enviro-friendly, and include a green roof , green exterior wall, and two electric car charging stations. UrbanTurf has more:

 

ANC Supports Movie Theater, 600+ Residences For Navy Yard

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 Courtesy of Forest City.

On Monday evening, ANC 6D voted unanimously to support the newest plan for the Navy Yard, a high-end movie theater and mixed-use development project with over 600 residential units…