Housing Complex

Busboys and Poets in Negotiations to Open Location at Hecht’s Development

From NY_Option-Glass Block

Well that was quick. Just a day after Mayor Vince Gray released a plan to spiff up Ward 5's industrial properties comes news that one such property is about to get quite spiffy.

The former Hecht Company distribution center at 1401 New York Ave. NE, a 1937 Art Deco behemoth that's stood vacant for nearly a decade, is in the process of starting a new life as residences and retail, courtesy of Douglas Development. As of the January groundbreaking, Douglas had attracted two major retail tenants: Mom's Organic Market and Planet Fitness. But Washingtonian's Marisa Kashino reports that a slew of other tenants have signed on, portending a buzzy future for the derelict site in struggling Ivy City.

Among the future tenants at Hecht's, Douglas founder and president Doug Jemal told Kashino, will be Busboys and Poets, Banana Republic, Gap, Nike, Petco, and three restaurants from the people behind Ghibellina and Acqua Al 2.

Busboys owner Andy Shallal says in an email that he is "still in negotiation" with Douglas and "not ready to commit yet." If a Busboys is on the way, it could immediately change perceptions of Ivy City.

For a neighborhood with hardly any retail right now, with the exception of manufacturing-cum-retail establishments like New Columbia Distillers, which makes Green Hat Gin, all of these newcomers signal a major change. But Busboys would be the biggest surprise. The local bookstore and restaurant chain is in the process of a rapid expansion, with new locations coming to Brookland, Takoma, Edgewood, and Anacostia. It tends to open in neighborhoods that are considered marginal but on the cusp of transformative development, like 14th Street NW and Mount Vernon Triangle. A Busboys at Hecht's could send the message to other retailers and developers that Ivy City is a neighborhood on the rise.

Rendering courtesy of Antunovich Associates

  • The Future

    Ivy city is so small. And so poor. With very low ownership rates. Aaron, you can go ahead and start writing a piece on how Ivy City is the ultimate case study in gentrification. Should be out sometime around 2019?

  • markus

    Good to see some love for ward 5, but its such an isolated location... only ivy city can walk there. Wouldn't this kind of development make way more sense on Bladensburg Rd or even the montana/New york triangle a bit up the road? There's just not much room for this to spur a neighborhood..

  • Anonypants

    Um... the Edgewood and Brookland locations are one and the same.

  • otavio

    Busboys & Poets (while a nice local establishment) does not trump international retailers Nike, Banana Republic, Gap and national retailers Petco and Planet Fitness, etc. for signaling that the neighborhood is on the rise. Busboys & Poets would not be the biggest surprise, those other retailers are the bigger catch. In fact, all those retailers together would immediately change the perception about the neighborhood.

  • Chris in Eckington

    They must be counting on a lot of commuter traffic because the current residents of Ivy City (or even close neighbors like Trinidad or Brentwood) cannot by and large afford to eat/shop here. Even if Ivy City were completely built out with market rate housing they alone could not support all of these businesses.

  • JQH3

    Save Hecht's Park!

  • Donna D.

    Just bought a condo in Woodridge. So PUMPED for this!! :)
    But a Busboys & Poets is opening in Brooklyn...that's pretty close. Maybe a different eating spot would be better. AND A CHICK-FIL-A!!!

  • Ksuave57

    Brookland not Brooklyn. not being a SA but wanted to make sure others knew as well.

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