Preservation Status

The Hecht Company Warehouse

Above Pictures from February 2015

Location: 1401 New York Avenue NE, Washington DC

Original Use: The Hecht Company Warehouse until the 1990’s and vacant thereafter until 2014

Original Architect: Abbott, Merkt & Company, NY

Originally Constructed: 1937, with significant additions in 1948 and 1961

Description: A masterpiece of Washington’s family of Art Deco buildings, the Hecht’s Warehouse is a supreme example of the original intended meaning of Louis Sullivan’s “Form Follows Function”: Hecht’s takes great inspiration from the intended use and marries it with materials that were both popular and distinctive in the day, namely, glass block and glazed brick for the exterior. The glass block exudes a crystalline translucency while serving an important function: admitting as much natural light as possible while limiting unwanted public views to the messy inner workings of a warehouse serving a major regional department store company. The wonderful qualities of the block are further heightened with a streamlined sensibility in a restrained use of curves at corners, culminating in a feature corner tower capped with a prismatic star-shaped crown.

Current Status: Construction currently underway for adaptive reuse conversion to retail and residential loft apartments

Adaptive Reuse Project Description: After being a party to the original landmark nomination for Hecht’s in the 1990’s, ADSW was reengaged in a collaborative effort with the building’s current owner, Douglas Development of Washington DC, over two years ago. Douglas’s original adaptive reuse plan called for transforming the building into an office building and plans included removing most of the distinctive glass block. Plans were subsequently revised to the current retail and loft apartment project, which retains the glass block (replacing sections as needed in kind). The floor plates of the original building are significant (over 100,000sf each) and their extensive depth was not conducive to apartments. An interesting plan was developed whereby a series of interior courtyards were cut into the middle of the floor plates, affording needed natural light exposure to inner units, with other units facing the existing perimeter walls. The building’s original structure, including distinctive cast-in-place concrete “mushroom” columns, have been retained. The interior finish theme of the apartments will be true to the original building, with the original concrete, brick and structure exposed for an industrial loft feel. The finished project will contain over 340 rental loft style apartments and approximately 200,000 sf of retail and restaurant uses.

Current Owner: Douglas Development Company, Washington, DC

Current Architect: Antunovich Associates, Arlington, VA

Anticipated Completion: In phases, from spring through fall of 2015


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