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A Washington firm closed on one of the biggest development parcels in the city’s downtown last week. Greenebaum & Rose paid $34 million for the old Hecht Co. department store at 7th and F streets NW, across from the three-year-old MCI Center, says Sam Rose.

The deal closed after more than a year of negotiations that snagged on the interests that several parties held on the land, including a Japanese bank. The seller was life insurer Equitable Cos., which took possession of the one-acre lot after another DC developer defaulted on a loan.

Greenebaum & Rose plans to build a 200,000 sf office building. CarrAmerica Realty Corp. has a contract to buy part of the site including the historic Hecht building, which was vacated in 1985 when the department store moved its flagship store five blocks west. Plans are to build 440,000 sf of offices, 55 apartments and other uses. The law firm Venable Baetjer Howard & Civiletti has lined up as the anchor tenant, with plans for a 225,000-sf lease after CarrAmerica renovates the old store. There will also be retail development on the site, but the amount is undecided, says Reid Liffson of Greenebaum & Rose.

Development on the site it complicated not only because of its financial history, but also because of zoning requirements for historic preservation, residences and retail space.

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