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Columbia Property Trust Brings D.C. Office Property to 90% Leased at Attractive Rates


Columbia Property Trust Inc. has brought Market Square, its 696,000-square-foot trophy office property in Washington, D.C., to 90% leased. Columbia has leased more than 350,000 square feet at the property since the start of 2015 through a combination of strategic property enhancements and targeted marketing to the legislative arms of major corporations.

As a result of this strategy, Columbia has also increased rental rates by an average of approximately 20 percent during that period and transformed the tenancy, with FORTUNE 500 companies now comprising a full half of the 65 tenants on the rent roll.

At the start of 2015, just before renovation plans were announced, nearly half of the space at Market Square was expiring in the three years ahead, and occupancy dropped to a low of 73 percent in mid-2016. Over the past four years, Columbia has now leased or renewed more than 50 percent of the total space at the property to return it to 90 percent leased.

During that timeframe, Columbia has also significantly enhanced the property, which it owns through a joint venture with Blackstone Property Partners. Renovations at the twin buildings, which curve around the U.S. Navy Memorial, include two reimagined entrances on Pennsylvania Avenue, elegant updates of the main lobbies, and a dynamic new 10,000-square-foot conference center and tenant lounge. This spring, Columbia will also unveil a new roof deck atop 801 Pennsylvania Avenue that will become a signature feature of the property. Exclusively for tenants of Market Square, the deck will offer unparalleled panoramic views up and down Pennsylvania Avenue, from the Capitol Building to the White House, and more than 8,000 square feet of high-end private event space.

“We have been very purposeful in creating a vibrant community at Market Square of business and industry leaders who maintain offices in D.C. in order to participate in the conversation taking place in our nation’s capital,” said Nelson Mills, Columbia’s chief executive officer. “Our efforts have been rewarded, with the property now well leased at very attractive rates.”

Mark Witschorik, who oversees Columbia’s D.C.-area portfolio as Vice President – Eastern Region, added, “We have worked diligently to establish Market Square as the epicenter of the legislative offices of Fortune 500 and leading midsize companies in Washington D.C. In addition to maintaining the timeless grandeur of the architecture and interior design of these iconic office buildings, we’ve developed an unrivaled package of amenities to serve the specific needs of lobbyist groups, who rely on having access to exclusive entertainment and meeting spaces. We plan to continue by adding more luxury retail and dining options onsite in the year ahead.”

With ten Fortune 100 companies among its tenants, Market Square is now in a category of its own: no other D.C. office building has more than four, according to JLL. The firm serves as leasing broker for the property, with leasing efforts headed by Doug Mueller and Evan Behr.