Ashkenazy Plans 2.4M SF Redevelopment Of D.C. Shopping Center

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A 43-year-old shopping center with surface parking on D.C.’s troubled H Street Northeast corridor has been eyed for years as a massive redevelopment opportunity, and the owner has finally unveiled plans for the site. 

The 8.6-acre Hechinger Mall property sits on the eastern edge of the H Street corridor.

Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. is pursuing a 2.4M SF multifamily and retail project on the 8.5-acre Hechinger Mall site, the firm announced late last week. The prominent real estate investor has lost control of several high-profile properties in recent years, including the retail space at Union Station on the other end of H Street from Hechinger Mall.

The announcement doesn’t go into detail on the components or timeline of the proposal, but it includes an artificial intelligence-generated rendering that shows several large mixed-use buildings surrounded by a public plaza. The owner is looking to bring on partners for the project, UrbanTurf reported.

“Ben Ashkenazy and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation vision for the Hechinger Mall is not just about creating residential spaces; it’s about crafting a community that thrives on connectivity, convenience, and the vibrant urban life that the H Street Corridor offers,” the announcement said. 

Ashkenazy didn’t respond to questions from Bisnow on the proposal. 

The site is zoned MU-7, which allows for medium-density, mixed-use development. Ashkenazy didn’t indicate if it plans to seek a rezoning from the city, but the announcement said its existing zoning “underscores the city’s vision for vibrant, mixed-use communities that blends living, shopping, and leisure in a cohesive urban fabric.”

Built in 1981, the 370K SF shopping center includes a Safeway grocery store, Dollar TreeRoss Dress for Less and several restaurant, clothing and service retail tenants. It sits at the nexus of four major thoroughfares — H Street Northeast, Bladensburg Road, Maryland Avenue and Benning Road — and on the eastern edge of a retail corridor that has seen a wave of multifamily development over the last decade. 

Ashkenazy, which has owned the property since 2005, had previously been quiet on its plans for the site. Given the property’s location and size, including two large surface parking lots, it has been discussed as a redevelopment opportunity for years by neighborhood groups and developers.

In 2017, H Street Main Street presented Ashkenazy with a vision and conceptual rendering for the site after working with consulting firms. The group said the site could house as many as 3,000 multifamily units. 

In 2019, developers MRP Realty and JM Zell went under contract to buy the property, but that deal fell through. 

In the meantime, Ashkenazy has lost control of major retail properties in cities since the onset of the pandemic.

The New York-based landlord lost D.C.’s Mazza Gallerie mall through a foreclosure in 2020. It also owns the retail space at D.C.’s Union Station, but Amtrak sought to take it over through eminent domain, and Ashkenazy was replaced by Rexmark after a foreclosure case in 2022, the Washington Post reported.

In Baltimore, Ashkenazy lost the iconic Harborplace Pavilions in 2019 when a judge ordered a receiver to take over after Ashkenazy defaulted on its loan. In Boston, it sold the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace in January after years of criticism from vendors and city leaders over its management of the property. 

Most recently, a joint venture of Ashkenazy and Brookfield defaulted on a $50M loan tied to luxury retail building One Union Place in San Francisco, CoStar reported.

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