Housing Complex

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.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    Surface lot?

    Gah, if only DC Zoning law updates had been handled more quickly. This should be straight-up illegal.

  • brookland_rez

    This should complement nicely the Walmart development at NY Ave and Bladensburg Rd.

  • http://sklop.com/lerehhhh Alyce Belew

    Where ever you go, I'll follow...Congrats!!!!

  • DE

    @IMGoph: The provision I assume you're referring to (prohibition of surface parking lots between a building and the street) is already incorporated into the current zoning regs. But it specifically exempts industrial zones, and this property is industrially zoned.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    DE: there you go! Thanks for the clarification.

  • anonymous

    A MOM's Organic Market is coming to this site.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    anon: Yeah, no.

  • anonymous

    IM Goph... Uh- yeah. Guaranteed.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    Anon: Okay, I have supersecret intelligence that says otherwise. How can we amicably continue this game of chicken without revealing sources? Any ideas?

  • http://www.artomatic.org George Koch

    When renovations are complete lets have an Artomatic their and be in and out in 8 weeks and bring 100,000 visitors to help market the site.

  • http://www.stryker-hip-recall-info.com Stryker Hip Recall Information

    But, but, but... Romney is rich! Look over there! Appear! Glance! Distraction! Shiny object!

  • anonymous

    IMGoph- by "otherwise", do you mean you have a source that says a MOM's is NOT coming to that site?

  • anonymous

    And btw- I don't have any sources. I AM the source.

  • http://distcurm.blogspot.com/ IMGoph

    I didn't realize that you were Scott Nash, anonymous commenter! Why didn't you just come out and say so? I love your store, and am glad to hear that you've committed to coming to Ivy City. This is news worthy of a separate blog post!

  • anonymous

    IMGoph- ;)

  • Kathleen O’Hearn


  • Hermes Villa

    The surviving warehouse is a great architectural landmark -- unique for our city. The quality of the proposed architectural element for the development site is abysmal. Is there not a DC archiect who can channel the purity of streamlined modern design without resorting to kitsch and mimickry? What is with the easy retro-pastiche appraoch? Why insert garden features into a former light industrial environment? Does everything need to be "softened" and landscaped? Celebrate the authentic character of this site! This is a chance to do something really different for the city and soar with good architecture. It is sad that this project is in the dreary hands of Jamal rather than a visionary & masterful developer. It will look seconf=d -rate upon completion, no doubt. But Washingtonians will think it swell.