Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg houses in 2004 (Photo via Flickr/Elvert Barnes)

Housing Authority plans to build more affordable housing in Navy Yard are set to advance in January, and residents say they want to ensure that affordable and market rate units are not divided.

Dividing affordable and market-rate housing in Navy Yard would separate a community that’s still healing, ex-Capper/Carrollsburg resident Chanel Caldwell-Cowan said. The musician and radio DJ returned to the area in 2011 after leaving in 2002. She said she values Navy Yard’s diversity as a mixed-income community.

“If they build two separate buildings, it would completely defeat the purpose of Arthur Capper,” Caldwell-Cowan said. “It’s segregation all over again, in a nutshell.”

The District is still replacing the 707 low-income residential units of the Arthur Capper and Carrollsburg houses that were demolished in the mid-2000s. The District received a $34.9 million federal grant in 2001 to replace all 707 units with a modern, mixed-income community. The project was intended to be complete in 2013.

The Housing Authority presented an idea early this year to sell a parcel of land at 3rd and I streets SE to a developer for the construction of a market-rate condo building. The profits from the sale could help build an all-affordable building nearby.

A public hearing will be held Jan. 8 to discuss changes to the project that would give the Housing Authority the flexibility to create the separate buildings.

Helen Douglas, vice president of the Navy Yard Neighbors Association, said her group believes separating subsidized housing and market-rate housing runs counter to the neighborhood’s mixed-income identity. Many community members echo her sentiment.

“The proposal violates our suffering. It would create and maintain a class division,” said Deborah Frazier, a veteran organizer and former Capper/Carrollsburg resident.

Capitol Quarter resident Josh Hart said he chose to buy a home in neighborhood because he liked the idea of living in a mixed-income community.
“The fact that they want to split up the housing is counterproductive,” he said. “It seems to defeat the whole purpose of the project.”

Navy Yard ANC Commissioner-elect Meredith Fascett also opposes not separating market-rate and subsidized housing.

“There’s broad community frustration with the two-building approach,” she said. Residents are working on financial models for the construction of a building that has both market-rate and affordable units, Fascett said.

The Housing Authority is still planning two buildings in order to make financing possible, spokesman Richard White said. The condo building could contain some affordable housing units, he said. How many units would be included and how much they would be subsidized is still being determined. Read More


Payne Elementary School (Photo via DC Public Schools)Despite support from Mayor Vincent Gray, funding for renovations at Payne Elementary School is in danger.

Ward 7 Councilwoman Yvette Alexander told Hill Now she will introduce a resolution on Tuesday to oppose Gray’s request to allocate $9 million to modernizing the school. She wants D.C. to instead devote funds to building a new middle school in her district, Ward 7.

“I would love to see Payne and Stanton [a Ward 8 school also included in the request] get what they’re looking for, but I won’t let that happen on the backs of Ward 7 students,” Alexander said.

Payne, located at 1445 C St. SE, was slated to receive money to complete its modernization this year, but the money was cut from the budget, as The Washington Post reported.

In a letter to the Council, parents described a “tale of two schools,” with only half of Payne’s classrooms modernized. The school doesn’t have an elevator or sufficient ramps for disabled students and parents, the letter says.

“We strongly believe that improving the learning environment of current Payne students now is a more critical need than funding construction of a new building that is still only in the planning stages,” the letter says.

Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

Photo via D.C. Public Schools

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A similar drill being lowered last year (Photo courtesy of D.C. Water)

In a bit of infrastructure tradition, D.C. Water will hold a ceremony tomorrow to officially name a machine that will dig a giant tunnel along the Anacostia River.

The new tunnel-boring machine that weighs about as much as six 747 airplanes will dig a 26-foot wide tunnel to reduce the amount of sewer overflow that pumps into the river.

“Tunnel boring machines get christened the way boats do,” D.C. Water spokeswoman Pamela Mooring explained. “We’ll smash a bottle of D.C. tap water on it.”

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, will say a blessing for the men and women working on the project. The 1,248-ton machine will then be lowered 100 feet underground.

The tunnel, which is part of D.C Water’s Clean Rivers Project, will hold excess sewage and rainwater before it is processed. This tunnel will connect to a tunnel dug by “Lady Bird,” a similar boring machine (pictured above).

The ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow (Friday) near Barney Circle at 17th Street SE. For more information, contact [email protected].

Photo courtesy of D.C . Water


The Spanish sandwich chain 100 Montaditos opened today in Navy Yard, drawing a big lunchtime crowd for its $1 sandwich specials.

“It’s really kicking off well,” manager Julian Davis said. “People in this area need a fast-paced option, and that’s what we’re able to provide.”

The 300 Tingey St. SE spot is offering a “Dollar Mania” menu of $1 sandwiches, $2 beers and $3 premium beer and wine. The restaurant will continue the special through Sunday and will extend happy hour prices all day for the restaurant’s first 100 days, Davis said.

100 Montaditos’ menu of 100 small, Spanish sandwiches includes traditional options like meatball and shrimp sandwiches for $1.50 each.  Premium options with ingredients like garlic pulled pork and brie go for $2.50 each.

The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.


Photo via Flickr/Elvert BarnesThere’s yet more evidence of the transformation of the H Street NE corridor, as the street’s first brand name, luxury real estate office opens.

A new RE/MAX SKY real estate boutique, complete with touch screen video displays, is set to hold its grand opening at 1425 H St. NE on Friday. Luxury brokers are drawn to the booming real estate market along H Street, the boutique’s owner and principal broker said.

“H Street is very hot right now,” said Cher Castillo Freeman. “With Whole Foods and other brand names moving in, more and more people will want to live, work and play on H Street.”

Castillo Freeman cited projections that there will be 1,200 new units in the area over the next two years. Her boutique will have RE/MAX’s luxury “Collection” division designation, meaning the office will target properties worth twice the average price in the area. The office will handle sales as well as rentals.

To celebrate the opening, Re/MAX SKY is holding an art soirée from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday. The event  will showcase the work of local artists and photographers and will benefit the D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative. There will be drinks, appetizers and music from a local DJ.

Attendees are asked to RSVP online and make a suggested $10 donation at the door.

Photo via Flickr/Elvert Barnes


Conductor John Devlin (Photo courtesy of Capital City Symphony)Is there a piece of classical music you’ve been dying to hear?

Let the Capital City Symphony know by Friday and you’ll have a chance at hearing it performed live at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE. The community symphony will perform about 10 audience selections during a Feb. 27 performance.

“In classical music, audience members never have a say in what they hear,” said John Devlin, the symphony’s associate conductor. “I figured, why not just ask them?”

Audience members will each introduce their pieces. A video they will design with film artist Tim McLoraine will play during the symphony’s performance.

“The focus of my thinking about classical music lately has been about how to modernize it,” said Devlin, who is 29 years old. “This type of performance is one where people will feel a different type of connection.”

During the first half of the performance, the symphony will perform “Les Illuminations,” a piece by composer Benjamin Britten. The Capital City Symphony will stage it with a lead male soloist who interacts with a video projection. (The University of Maryland hosted a performance of the piece this way two years ago. A recording is available here.)

The performance will be a “demonstration of all you can accomplish with video projection,” Devlin said.

The concert will take place Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, at 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, and children 16 and younger get in free.

The Capital City Symphony will also perform early next year with a go-go band.

Photo courtesy of Capital City Symphony


Van Ness Elementary School earlier this monthVan Ness Elementary School will reopen in the fall with two kindergarten classes after years of organizing by parents and community members, D.C. Public Schools announced.

The DCPS announcement made to parents this weekend and confirmed by Hill Now today (Monday) follows previous statements that the school would open with only pre-kindergarten classes for 3- and 4-year-olds and add a new grade level every year.

“This is fantastic news,” said Kelly Störmer, president of the Van Ness Parents’ Group. “DCPS had committed to making this a model school for early childhood education, but a school really starts with kindergarten. It feels like we’ve got an official stamp of approval.”

Renovations to the first floor of the 1150 5th St. SE school will begin in February and will be finished in time for the school year, according to an information sheet. A second phase of renovations will be completed in time for the 2016 school year.

Van Ness closed in 2006 because of dwindling enrollment.

The decision to add the kindergarten classes is good news for the community because families are already making daycare and preschool plans for the fall, Störmer said.

“A lot of parents had been really counting on having a kindergarten class,” she said. “This a huge relief.”


Lincoln Playground Field House (Photo via Historic Preservation Review Board) A local preservation group has submitted an application to make the small brick house just east of Van Ness Elementary School a historic landmark.

The Lincoln Playground Field House, on the Joy Evans Recreation Center site (555 L St. SE), was constructed in 1934 as part of a New Deal project. Of six similar field houses built in the racially segregated District, it was the only one made in a black neighborhood.

“What I really like about this field house is that it was the only one of the six made completely out of brick, the only one outside of Northwest and the only one built for a black playground,” said Kent Boese, president of Historic Washington Architecture, the group that submitted the application.

Boese said that he hopes a historic designation will enable the community to raise funds to renovate the field house for public use, and for Van Ness Elementary, which is set to reopen in the fall.

“The field house is in rough shape, but it’s nothing that can’t be brought back,” he said.

Boese, who is the chairman of ANC 1A, said he secured $400,000 from the D.C. Council to renovate a similar field house in the Park View neighborhood after it was designated a historic landmark.

Photo via Historic Preservation Review Board


Bridge (Photo via The 5 x 5 Project)

If you want to see the public art in a historic Naval building, act fast.

“Bridge,” a sculpture by Glenn Kaino, will close to the public on Saturday, according to The Yards DC.

The piece consists of a long wave of suspended golden objects that stretches through historic Building 170 at 200 Tingey St. SE. A closer look reveals that the piece is in fact composed of casts of Olympian Tommie Smith arm when he gave the Black Power raised fist salute at the 1968 Olympics.

The work is meant to address “social justice, equality and the advancement of a social cause,” an artist’s statement says.

The project is part of 5 x 5, a series of 25 temporary public art exhibits funded by the District that have been on view since September.

Property developer JBG Companies did not immediately respond to an inquiry about what will happen next to the building. A “retail pavilion” of 7,000 to 11,000 square feet is eventually in the works for the space, according to the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District website.

Photo via The 5 x 5 Project

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100 Montaditos (Photo via Instagram/Los Montaditos)Low-cost food and drinks are on the way to Navy Yard.

The Spanish chain restaurant and bar 100 Montaditos appears close to opening its first location in the District. Signage for a grand opening this month is now posted outside 300 Tingey St. SE near 4th Street SE.

The restaurant’s menu of 100 Spanish sandwiches on baguette-like bread will include classics like tortilla espanola and serrano ham, plus “premium” selections like a sandwich that combines anchovies, brie cheese, piquillo pepper and arugula.

A grand opening special will be in effect, offering $1 sandwiches, $2 regular beers and $3 premium beers, a sign says.

The company, which has locations in Arlington and Bethesda, was founded in 2000 in Spain. The Navy Yard location of 100 Montaditos will “aim to recreate the atmosphere of a 19th century Spanish tavern, according to a description on the Capitol Riverfront website.

Representatives did not immediately return inquiries about when the restaurant is expected to open.

Photo via Instagram/Los Montaditos


25 Potomac Ave. SE (Photo via MRP Realty)

Construction is moving forward on an apartment building just south of Nationals Stadium, and the developer is hosting a pig roast to celebrate.

Developer MRP Realty will hold a party and pig roast on Tuesday at the 1st Street and Potomac Avenue SE residential and retail building that will be called The Riverfront.

“There has been a 15-year process to unlock some vertical space on this property,” MRP Realty Vice President John Begert said, referring to difficulties in the zoning process. “This will be a spike-the-football kind of event.”

Begert described the pig roast as “something different” to attract attendees. The ceremony for the nine-story building with a rooftop pool will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday at 25 Potomac Ave. SE site.

The 305-unit building is slated to be complete in two years, though some units will open earlier. The project will extend the pedestrian boardwalk along the Anacostia River.

The $65 million project won zoning approval as part of a project to construct four buildings on the parcel, but Begert said there are currently no plans in motion to build the other three.

Photo via MRP Realty

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Stadium rendering (Photo via DC United Soccer)

As D.C. Council prepares to vote tomorrow (Tuesday) on the D.C. United stadium deal, locals will discuss the broader future of Buzzard Point.

The Southwest Neighborhood Assembly will host a panel tomorrow night on development on the southern end of Southwest D.C.

“This is one of the only areas in D.C. with a significant industrial building stock, and the community has a lot to consider,” said David Garber, the former Navy Yard ANC commissioner who will moderate the event.

The panel will be made up of ANC 6D commissioner Rhonda Hamilton, founder of Dupont Underground Julian Hunt, director of the Anacostia Watershed Society Jim Foster and historian Hayden Wetzel. The talk will take place in the Police Station at 101 M Street SW at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Garber said he will begin the evening by making a 10-minute presentation on the concept of adaptive reuse. Buildings discussed will include the U-Haul location at 1501 South Capitol St. SW, the art deco Pepco substation and other industrial structures.

Photo via DC United Soccer


Thanksgiving Cruise (Photo via Spirit Cruises)

Not up to cooking for Thanksgiving? You have several alternatives along the southeast and southwest waterfront — including dining aboard a boat.

An annual Thanksgiving lunch cruise will depart from 6th and Water streets SW at 12 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday). A buffet menu of roasted turkey, brown sugar-roasted pork tenderloin and butternut squash will be served by Spirit Cruises

“We try to recreate a typical Thanksgiving meal,” representative Ryan Meadors said.

The cruise that ends about 2 p.m. is currently at three-quarters capacity, Meadors said. Tickets cost $54.90 for adults and $32.95 for children.

For those who prefer to stay on land, the 1101 4th St. SW restaurant Station 4 will host a prix-fixe Thanksgiving meal from 2 to 11 p.m. The menu includes turkey and pumpkin pie, plus atlantic salmon and turkey meatballs. The meal costs $38 per person.

For a more casual — and more football-oriented experience — Willie’s Brew & Que is one of the few local restaurants that will be open for normal hours. Co-owner and chef Rahman “Rock” Harper said the restaurant’s 14 TV screens will be tuned to football.

“This will be a great option for people who want to escape the Thanksgiving madness,” he said. Located at 300 Tingey St. SE, Willie’s will be open from 11 to 2 a.m.

Photo via Spirit Cruises


Photo via Facebook/CrossFit DCCrossFit DC wants you to do burpees, squats and pushups before you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.

The high-intensity gym will offer special members-only Thanksgiving workouts at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at its 1365 H St. NE and 1722 14th St. NW locations.

The sessions are designed to let participants do more than work out, CrossFit DC co-owner Tom Brose said.

“People work hard to earn their pumpkin pie, but it’s more about getting together as a group and trying to be thankful for our community,” he said.

One Thanksgiving, CrossFit DC honored a gym member who was serving in Afghanistan with a “hero” workout of a mile-long run followed by 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats and another mile-long run. Last year, participants did a workout called Grace that combined 30 reps of lifting 135 lbs with the weight-lifting move “clean and jerk.”

This year’s Thanksgiving workout will be secret until it begins, but Brose said it will combine a normal session and a “hero” routine.

“This is going to be a pretty tough workout,” he said.

All of the routines can be adjusted to accommodate different ability levels, he added.

Photo via Facebook/CrossFit DC


Po Boy Jim (Photo via Facebook/Po Boy Jim)More karaoke might be coming to H Street NE.

Po Boy Jim at 709 H St. NE is seeking a liquor license change so they could host DJs and karaoke.

The two-story restaurant and bar, which opened in June, is requesting an entertainment endorsement from the D.C. alcohol board, according to a notice of public hearings.

The family-owned and operated restaurant applied to be allowed to have DJs and karaoke between 6 and 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, public records show.

Restaurant representatives will make their case for the license at a hearing on Jan. 20. They did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

Photo via Facebook/Po Boy Jim


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