Real Estate

Ashkenazy's Hechinger Mall Redevelopment: 2.4M Sq Ft Mixed-Use Vision

Ashkenazy to transform D.C.'s Hechinger Mall into a 2.4 million sq ft mixed-use development amid legal challenges.

By Tal Alexander

4/3, 12:43 EDT
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Key Takeaway

  • Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation plans to redevelop Hechinger Mall in D.C., aiming for a 2.4 million square foot mixed-use space.
  • The project envisions multiple buildings and a public plaza on an 8.5-acre site, potentially including up to 3,000 multifamily units.
  • Amidst ongoing legal and financial battles, this redevelopment marks a significant move by Ashkenazy in the Washington real estate market.

A Vision for Hechinger Mall's Transformation

Ben Ashkenazy's Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation is setting the stage for a significant redevelopment project at Hechinger Mall in Washington, D.C. This ambitious plan aims to transform the 8.5-acre site into a 2.4 million square foot mixed-use development, blending retail and multifamily spaces at the heart of the H Street corridor. Despite the sparse details, the project's AI-generated renderings suggest a modern urban oasis, complete with mixed-use buildings and a public plaza. This redevelopment initiative emerges as Ashkenazy navigates through various challenges with other D.C. holdings, including a contentious legal battle over the Union Station development.

Redevelopment Amidst Controversy

The Hechinger Mall project represents a pivotal moment for Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, which has owned the property for nearly two decades. The site, currently housing a 370,000-square-foot shopping center with tenants like Safeway and Ross Dress for Less, is poised for a dramatic transformation. This move comes after a failed sale attempt to MRP Realty and JM Zell in 2019 and amidst ongoing legal disputes, including a lawsuit from lender Rexmark over the Union Station development and the foreclosure of the Mazza Gallerie mall in 2020. Despite these challenges, the Hechinger Mall redevelopment underscores Ashkenazy's commitment to revitalizing retail spaces in strategic urban locations.

The Future of Retail and Mixed-Use Developments

The Hechinger Mall redevelopment project aligns with broader trends in the retail and real estate sectors, where mixed-use developments are increasingly seen as vital for urban revitalization. This trend is echoed in the sentiments expressed by retail pioneer Mickey Drexler and investor Ben Ashkenazy at The Real Deal NYC Real Estate Forum, where discussions highlighted the resurgence of retail and the transformation of retail spaces to meet modern consumer demands. With major investors and developers like Vornado's Steve Roth predicting a rise in retail rents and a rebound from the so-called "retail apocalypse," projects like Hechinger Mall are at the forefront of redefining urban landscapes.

A New Chapter for Washington, D.C.'s Retail Landscape

The Hechinger Mall redevelopment project is more than just a real estate venture; it's a testament to the evolving nature of retail and mixed-use spaces in urban centers. By integrating retail with multifamily units and public spaces, Ashkenazy is not only capitalizing on the site's prime location but also contributing to the broader narrative of retail's resurgence. This project, set against the backdrop of Ashkenazy's legal battles and the challenges facing the retail sector, highlights the complexities and opportunities within the real estate market. It underscores the importance of adaptability, vision, and resilience in navigating the future of urban development.