South by West

The office building along the Anacostia River at 1900 Half St. SW will be repurposed as a multifamily rental apartment building by Douglas Development. Rendering courtesy of Antunovich Associates

Demolition Ceremony for D.C. United Stadium

An official demolition ceremony was held on April 25 at the site of the future D.C. United Stadium at Buzzard Point. Speakers at the event included Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, and D.C. United owner Jason Levien.

Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner stated during his remarks that the stadium project will provide 1,000 construction and permanent jobs, as well as help generate $1 billion in economic activity once Buzzard Point reaches buildout. It is anticipated that approximately one million visitors will come to the stadium per year once it is built. Construction will begin this fall with completion by the start of the 2018 Major League Soccer season. A community workforce coordinator will be hired this summer to help connect Ward 6 residents to construction jobs at the project. Hospitality and pre-apprenticeship coordinators will also be hired. After the speeches the mayor donned a hardhat and started demolishing a metal-clad building at Second and S streets. Levien and Allen also got their turn.

The District took ownership of the land for the stadium last year and is still dealing with eminent domain proceedings for a two-acre portion that was owned by Akridge. A planned unit development for the 20,000-seat stadium designed by Populous was filed in January and is making its way through the approvals process with the Zoning Commission. At a Zoning Commission public meeting in March the stadium design was described as “boring,” “austere,” and “prison-like” by the commissioners, so expect some revised drawings in the coming weeks. 

In addition to taking ownership, the District is responsible for horizontal development of the site, including razing existing buildings, utility work, and environmental remediation, while D.C. United will build the stadium. There were a few protesters outside of the demolition event, many in face masks. One sign said, “Protect our health, our children, our lives from contamination.” The Buzzard Point area is heavily polluted due to its primarily industrial past. The stadium, along with construction from the new Waterfront Pepco substation directly north of the stadium site, the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, and other sites at Buzzard Point which may be developed, will require extensive remediation and may raise a lot of dust in the neighborhood. In fact, what appeared to be an air-quality-control machine was at the demolition event.

Redo of 1900 from Office to Residential

A filing was made by Douglas Development to the Zoning Commission for 1900 Half St. SW, which is an office building located along the Anacostia River on Buzzard Point. The application was made due to its location within the Capitol Gateway Overlay District, which limits the height and bulk of buildings along the Anacostia River. As one crosses the Frederick Douglass Bridge, 1900 Half St. is visible. Douglas proposes to redevelop the nine-story structure into a multifamily building with 462 residential units and 24,032 square feet of retail space. The current building is rectangular in shape, but the developer proposes to remove portions of the building to create two large open courtyards on the second floor, resulting in an “E” shaped building facing the river. As designed by Antunovich Associates, the building will be reskinned with a vision glass curtain wall, blue and white colored metal panels, and terracotta rain screens. 

Entrances to the residential lobby and retail will be along Water Street; one section of retail will be on two levels. Ground-floor units will have lofts and some second-floor units will have private terraces facing the river. A fitness center and other amenity spaces will also be on the second floor, while on the roof an indoor lounge, pool deck, and infinity pool will be installed, which should have great views of the river, Capitol dome, and Washington Monument. Parking will be provided in the existing garage with 324 spaces, accessed only from the north (the southern access point and curb cut will be removed). The building currently has 691 parking spaces, and the Capitol Gateway Overlay regulations require only 182.

Although the project will not have a 75-foot minimum setback from the Anacostia bulkhead, since the original building was completed prior to 2005, the river side of the building will have a promenade ranging from 14 to 24 feet (the larger promenade on the northern part of the site will be in two sections, divided by a 10-foot bioretention barrier). The project will seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold status. 

This application was expected since the Office of Planning listed it as one of six major projects in the Buzzard Point Design Framework Plan document. The project is less than two blocks from the site of the new D.C. Unitedsoccer stadium and catty-corner from Ziegfeld's/Secrets, which was purchased by MRP Realty and will be redeveloped as a multifamily building. It is also north ofMarina Place, where Capital City Real Estate plans to build about 100 condos, and near the Transpoint Building, which is under contract to Redbrick. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D voted in support of variances at 1900 Half during its May monthly meeting, but expressed reservations, including the lack of affordable housing units in the project. A hearing will be held at the Zoning Commission in the coming months. 

Mayor Bowser starts the demolition process by partially tearing down a storage shed within the footprint of the new D.C. United stadium. Photo: William Rich
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen offers remarks during the demolition ceremony. Photo: William Rich

William Rich is a blogger at Southwest … The Little Quadrant that Could (