Update: Game on? Hecht’s going to auction?

According to the Washington Business Journal, the Hecht’s warehouse site at 1401 and 1403 New York Ave. NE (the art deco monolith that I LOVE so much), is scheduled for auction again….in under an hour. According to the auction house’s website, the sale has not been cancelled yet. been postponed until February.  Apparently, the lawsuits that each side had against the other have been dismissed with prejudice and some mysterious agreement has been reached.

You may remember that after much fanfare surrounding the site’s redevelopment by Patriot Equities LP, the company allegedly defaulted on its $66M loan from JP Morgan Chase.  A foreclosure action had originally been scheduled for June 8, 2010, but was halted at the last second by a federal judge.

For those who have no background about this great building….

Originally the family’s general store in Baltimore, the small chain of Hecht’s department stores grew rapidly in the late 1800’s.  Moses and Alexander, sons of the owners, opened the Hecht Company’s D.C. outpost at 7th and F Street in the 1920’s.  Despite the Depression, the store saw profits. Ignoring the country’s worsening economic outlook and adopting the motto “Full Steam Ahead”, the Hechts built the New York Avenue warehouse as part of the company’s 40th anniversary celebration.  They had it designed with architectural flair with the hope of one day turning it into a retail establishment.   “It was obvious from the beginning that this was one of the most important art deco buildings in the greater Washington area,” said Washington College history professor Richard Striner in a 2007 Post article.

In 1992, the building was completely rehabilitated, with historic replicas used where materials needed to be replaced.  It was included in the National Register in 1994.  The building was shuttered in 2006 when Macy’s purchased the Hecht’s chain.  Patriot Equities bought it in 2007 with plans to knock down an adjacent warehouse to make room for a shopping center anchored by a big box store.  The Hecht building itself was going to be renovated to include additional shops, light manufacturing, or warehouse storage.

I really hope some kind of forward movement on the development happens soon.  Besides the potential benefit to the Eckington neighborhood, I would love a reason to go visit one of my randomly favorite DC buildings.

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