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. Despite the surrounding area’s down at heel history, the rapid gentrification and urban renewal push in Washington has led to the warehouse being converted into high-end loft apartments.
Update 2016: Urban Renaissance appears to have struck as the building now contains modern loft apartments and shops.
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- Architectural Preservation Services: The Hechy Company Warehouse: http://aps-wei.com/project.php?ID=9
- Lee, Mara. "The Age of Art Deco Spotlight," The Washington Post, 1982.
- Lazo, Alejandro. "Developer Purchases Old Hecht's Warehouse," The Washington Post, 2007.