Even though Washington, D.C., is home to over 270 Art Deco style buildings, the Hecht Company Warehouse remains a landmark of the streamlined-style popularized by the world fairs of the 1930s. Built in 1937 by the New York-based firm Abbott, Merkt & Co., the six-story warehouse has been vacant since 2006 when Macy’s bought out the once-prosperous Hecht department store chain.
The warehouse’s distinctive glass block and glazed brick composition - even spelling out Hecht on one side - has secured the site’s historical status, but current retail development plans will eventually lead to the demolition of the warehouse’s satellite structures, such as a water tower and loading docks. The warehouse’s corner tower made of - surprise - glass block is capped with a star-shaped cupola that used to light up at night, but nowadays, despite the warehouse’s well-kept exterior, the surrounding environment is bleak.
The warehouse is wedged between the active Amtrak yard on New York Avenue and the historic, yet poor, Ivy City neighborhood, which is also slated for “urban renewal” in the form of condos and big-box stores. Yet with Washington's history of slow-moving development projects, it will be likely be years before plans are approved by the city.