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Inside Newly Renovated Market Square

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Market Square Pennsylvania Avenue
The Market Square mixed-use complex at 701 and 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

When Market Square was constructed atop the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro station in 1990, it was one of the first developments in DC to combine office, residential and retail.

"This was a pioneering mixed-use project in DC," Columbia Property Trust's Mark Witschorik says. 

But 25 years later, with more mixed-use built every year, the two curved buildings at 701 and 801 Pennsylvania Ave needed a renovation to reaffirm its place atop the trophy office market. With Phase 1 of the repositioning complete, Bisnow took a peek inside the building to see what's new. 

Market Square 801 Pennsylvania Ave

The $15M first phase of renovations, designed by Gensler, includes a new and improved entryway. Previously, the glass door had been surrounded by wood panels that Mark says made the lobby feel closed off. To bring in more light, the architect installed glass panels above and next to the door, also adding the big address number out front. 

Market Square lobby

In the lobby, the architect removed red stone inserts from the white marble floors, replacing them with the same Italian stone. An LED lighting grid was added to the ceiling, and brass fixtures were replaced with bronze finishes. Mark says the firm wanted to complement the iconic assets with contemporary finishes.

Market Square fitness center
Market Square Fitness Center

The building had a fitness center before, but the architect completely remodeled it and tripled its size to 9,500 SF. A yoga studio with color-changing lights was added, and a full-time trainer who offers four complimentary fitness classes to tenants each week was brought on.

On one wall, the gym has a map of DC with popular jogging paths. On another, it has instructions for a Navy Seal workout, an homage to the memorial outside. As a nod to its proximity to the White House, a third wall features images of past presidents exercising: Barack Obama playing basketball, John F. Kennedy playing tennis and George H.W. Bush throwing a baseball, to name a few. 

Mark Witschorik Columbia Property Trust
Columbia Property Trust Eastern Region vice president Mark Witschorik

A new marketing center, where Mark poses above, was added on the eighth floor. The building, which has 700k SF of combined office and retail plus 220 condos, has 70% office occupancy. JLL's Evan Behr and Doug Mueller are handling leasing for Market Square. After two law firms moved out in the last year, Mark says Columbia Property shifted strategy to target other types of businesses, recently landing Ford and CBS as tenants. 

"We decided to selectively cut up floors and target midsize users, in particular corporations that have government affairs offices in DC," Mark says. "As a result, we've done a number of leases with these tenants. We now have more than 20 Fortune 500 companies here at Market Square, and we've been able to create what we like to think of as a center of gravity for these organizations to come together and collaborate."  

Market Square corner office view

Surrounding the marketing center on the eighth floor is vacant office space that Mark says he has gotten strong interest in from many tenants. Whichever CEO decides to move his or her company to the space will enjoy the above corner office views of the Navy Memorial fountains, the National Archives building and the Capitol. 

Market Square conference room under construction

Construction on a new 7k to 13k SF conference center is still in progress. The project's $10M Phase 2 will feature a tenants-only lounge with a private restaurant featuring what Mark says is a well-known chef. The next phase will also feature outdoor improvements and is slated to be completed in Q2 2017