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Wonder Bread Factory renovations almost complete

Renovations are nearly complete at 641 S Street NW, the old Wonder Bread factory, and potential tenants are in talks to move in, says Thomas Schneck, Douglas Development’s sales and marketing manager.

“Renovations will be finished in June,” says Schneck. “And we’re almost done with the exterior. The pretty touches with landscaping are not done, but the upper level windows are all in and the only thing missing are the first- and basement-level windows now.”

The windows all had to be custom-built on-site, says Schneck, because each window was a different size. But even more remarkable than the floor-to-ceiling windows visible from the outside, are the changes Douglas Development and R2L and OTJ architects had to contend with inside the building.

“We were forced to remove everything—even put in new floors,” says Schneck. “Because of the severe roof damage, over the years water got in and vegetation was literally growing on the wooden floors. We completely cored the whole thing.”

The four-story building now has the outside walls, but inside it is a total open floor plan on every level. Depending on who signs the lease and when, Douglas Development could help construct in the interior walls, but so far the company hasn’t crossed that bridge.  

The 98,000 square foot mixed-use building was reported to have their entire third floor—20,678 square feet of space—leased to furniture consultancy group WorkSpaces LLC, as originally reported by the Washington Business Journal last June. However, WorkSpaces has since filed bankruptcy and so there are no set tenants for the building.

One thing that has remained constant are the 27 underground parking spaces.

The Wonder Bread Factory was originally a three-story building built sometime between 1900 to 1920 as the Dorsh’s White Cross Bakery. Wonder Bread and Hostess Cake producer Continental  Baking Co. then bought the building in 1936. The building was closed in the 1980s and has since been vacant.

Read more articles by Lisa Spinelli.

Lisa Spinelli is Elevation DC's development editor as well as a freelance journalist, copy editor and mother of two. After receiving her Master of Science in print journalism from Columbia University in 2004, Lisa worked across the country and in Italy as a journalist, editor and Web editor. Her website LisaSpinelli.com has links to a smattering of her published clips.
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