The Hecht Company Warehouse, Present and Future
In my column this week on the potentially transformative development taking place at the Hecht Company warehouse on New York Avenue NE, I didn't have a ton of space to go into details of the plans. So allow me to flesh them out a bit.
The highlight of the site is the warehouse itself, a 1937 Art Deco building that once stored the goods for the Hecht's department stores downtown and elsewhere. That'll be turned into 500,000 square feet of office space, for which Douglas Development is hoping to attract a federal government tenant. Right now the interior looks like this:
The columns and glass blocks will remain when the offices are installed, though the place will of course be spruced up a bit. (Douglas is planning to do construction before signing up any tenants, but will wait to do actual office build-out.)
One of the building's highlights is its rooftop, which is absolutely vast and has great panoramic views over the good, the bad, and the ugly of the District. Douglas plans to install a running track, swimming pool, dog park, and basketball court up here for use by the tenants:
This is what the finished building—preserving most exterior elements of the historically landmarked building—will look like, according to Douglas' renderings:
But the office building is only one component of the site. Alongside it is a vast empty raised lot, used for loading the Hecht's goods before the warehouse shut down in 2006. Here's what the lot looks like now, as seen from the roof of the warehouse:
And here's what'll be there soon: a 1,000-car parking garage (convertible to residential units if demand and transit options pick up in the future) atop a large retail space, which Douglas expects to complete by February 2014, next to a small plaza with a fountain...
...a new "Hecht Avenue" lined with small retail and, ideally, a grocery store...
...and a small-ish surface parking lot in front of a big-box retailer and a smaller retail space:
Will Douglas be able to find tenants to fill all these spaces? The company executives are heading to Las Vegas this weekend to pitch the site to retailers at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers conference. And the search for office tenants at the not-yet-transit-accessible site could be tougher. But if it all comes together, it's a big deal for the New York Avenue corridor and neighboring Ivy City.