Monday, April 13, 2015

Spy Museum Has Found a New Home

The International Spy Museum has been looking for a new place to relocate to for a while and now they have finally found it.  After their Carnegie Library move got shot down, the museum now plans to take up residence in a $100 million building that's part of the L'Enfant Plaza renovation.  The exact location is 900 L'Enfant Plaza and they hope to move within two years.

The move has to be approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and the museum will present their plans to the Commission on April 16th.  Assuming all goes well, they will build a 100,000 SF, 6 story museum space with expanded exhibition space, three times the current event space, a rooftop terrace and an open air plaza on the ground floor. Spy Museum Chief Operating Officer Tamara Christian said the location makes sense due to five Metro lines running through it, ample parking, proximity to the National Mall and an opportunity to help revitalize the area.  “I think everyone in the city knows that’s somewhat of a dead area right now,” Christian said. “When we came to Penn Quarter, it was somewhat of a dead area. Now it’s completely energized, and we’re really hoping that we’ll be able to be a catalyst to energize L’Enfant.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Architect Chosen for Union Station Expansion

The Washington Post announced yesterday that the same architect who did the Grand Central Terminal renovation has been chosen to work on the Union Station expansion here in DC.  The proposed expansion will cost $10 billion and could triple the passenger capacity.  Beyer Blinder Belle won the job.  They have offices in New York and Washington, DC and they have tapped Grimshaw Architects to work with them.  Grimshaw specializes in train station design and is based in London but also has an office in New York.

The project is being overseen by the Union Station Redevelopment Corp. which manages Union Station as well as Amtrak and Akridge who is planning Capitol Crossing, a 3 million SF project above the tracks behind Union Station. 

On next steps and getting the expansion financed, Beverly Swaim-Staley, president and chief executive of the Union Station Redevelopment Corp. said, “We need to have the project defined.  We need to have a project that everyone can look at and be excited about. Something so that people can understand what the goals are in terms of tripling capacity for passengers coming in and out of the station. This project is going to transform not only Washington, D.C., but the region.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Streetcar Back On?

In Mayor Bowser's first State of the District Address on Tuesday, she announced that the streetcar planned for H Street and Benning Road will be up and running despite all of the obstacles and naysayers.  She said, "We all know that the streetcar has been long on promises but short on results.  That changes now."  She not only promised that the 2.2 mile H Street and Benning Road would start running but the line would extend to downtown Ward 7 east of the Anacostia, then to the Potomac River where it would then connect to Union Station and Georgetown. 

In her address, Mayor Bowser also discussed affordable housing, economic development, healthcare, education, transparency, arts funding, DC's disenfranchisement, and professional sporting events. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Top Restaurateurs Want to be at The Wharf

The Washington Business Journal is reporting that some star restaurateurs are interested in opening restaurants at The Wharf, the massive development under construction on the SW waterfront.  The likes of Mike Isabella, Cathal Armstrong, Robert Wiedmaier, Stephen Starr, the Hilton Brothers, Jackie Greenbaum, Jamie Leeds and Fabio Trabocchi are all sniffing around to see the possibilities.  Armstrong is already in and the Hilton Brothers, Greenbaum and Leeds have already signed letters of intent (though no leases have been signed). 

For more details, read the full article here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mortgage Rates to Rise...But Not Yet

The Federal Reserve conspicuously dropped the word "patient" from their policy statement regarding when to raise mortgage rates on Wednesday.  This news created quite a flutter in the residential real estate world with people wondering when and how much.  but as today's rates show us, the time is not here just yet. 

Average rates actually went down this week.  A 30 year fixed rate mortgage is at 3.78% down from 3.86% last week and a 15 year fixed rate mortgage went from 3.10% last week to 3.06%.  So when will the rates start rising?

The Fed's decision on when to start raising rates is based on the economy's performance.  Their decision to no longer say it "can be patient" about raising short term interest rates doesn't mean it will happen immediately.  They could however start in June or shortly thereafter.  But once they do start, they'll rise more gradually than previously projected.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What's Next for The Yards?

The Washington Business Journal got a sneak peek into what can be expected next at The Yards.  Located between Tingey and Water Streets SE, Parcel O at The Yards will serve up the first condo building of the site and the next apartment building to come up.  The buildings will be connected on the main level by an enclosed walkway and that will be located on the west part of the building. 

The condo building will be 142 units and 11 stories with street level retail while the apartment building will be a two-tower 190 unit building also with street level retail.  246 underground parking spaces will be shared by both.  Work on both projects should get started later this year.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow Specials

Hopefully everyone got a chance to enjoy the snow yesterday!  If you're already sick of it, perk up with these DC snow specials.  Curbed DC rounded up a list of restaurants and bars offering snow day specials today:
  • Hawk n Dove has a $5 soup of the day, $5 hot drinks, $5 wine and rail drinks and $4 Miller Lite.
  • Willie's Brew & Que has all day happy hour with $5 wine, rails, tequila shots and $4Miller Light, plus food deals like a $6 taco of the day.
  • Molly Malone's has $6 Irish and Baileys coffees, hot toddys and vanilla vodka-spiked hot chocolate.
  • 701 Restaurant is offering $7 You-Call-It on select liquors and $7 cocktail flight on their Filibuster oak aged cocktails from 3-7 p.m.
  • The Star & Shamrock will be offering $5 Hot Toddies to go along with their Friday Fish Fry.
  • Cuba Libre is offering all day happy hour all day today at the bar (drinks only). Guests have to mention "Frozen Havana" to get it.
  • Water and Wall is having a Lunch Happy Hour with $5 red, white, and sparkling wine and beer selections.
  • 2941 Restaurant is offering a $10 All American Burger or Greek Turkey Burger (with fries or salad and a soda or iced tea). They're also bringing back their date night special this evening for $68 per person (five courses).
  • Kids Eat Free at Pizzeria Orso today at lunch and dinner.
  • Irish Times has $3 Natty Bohs, $3.50 PBR Tall Boys and $5 Irish Coffees during snow.
Enjoy and stay safe and warm out there!