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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