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Meridian's $142M Renovation Of 700 K St Looks To Create A Unique Style Of Trophy Office

Trophy office buildings in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London have the advantage of going vertical, not constrained by DC's Height Act. But these cities are also celebrated for their unique architectural styles, while DC has often been criticized for having a standard glass-box office format that developers rarely deviate from. With its $142M renovation of 700 K St NW, The Meridian Group's Tom Boylan says the developer hopes to do something different. 

Tom Boylan The Meridian Group

"The new wave of trophy buildings follow in line and do what everyone else has done," Tom says. "They don’t take any risks."

Meridian has decided to take a calculated risk that future tenants will be attracted to a building with a more authentic design, Tom says. He says the building, designed by Hickok Cole, will incorporate a turn-of-the-century industrial style with a contemporary twist, infused with hospitality themes. 

700 K St NW rendering

The first eight floors of the building, rendered above, will complement the glass windows with a material called Norman brick, a crisp, gray brick with metal trim. The top four floors will be set back 30 feet to create a 6k SF terrace. The upper portion will have a more traditional floor-to-ceiling glass exterior. The first two floors will feature retail, including a fitness club, and a new two-story office lobby facing K Street. 

700 K ST NW

The building, pictured above as it looks today, is part of the four-property East End plaza previously known as Techworld, which has the recognizable 8th Street connecting glass bridge above the pedestrian plaza.  

Meridian bought 800 K St, as it was then labeled, from The JBG Cos in 2014 for $315M. The developer is planning to physically separate the property into two separate addresses. 700 K St will be an L-shaped 250k SF building that fronts K and 7th streets, aimed at top-tier tenants. 800 K St will be an octagon-looking 120k SF building facing the interior pedestrian plaza and will have much lower rents than the adjacent trophy building.

The project has been in pre-development for more than two years, and Tom says the developer expects to begin work early next year, with delivery 16 to 18 months later.

700 K St NW Lobby rendering

The two connected buildings previously shared a lobby facing the interior 8th Street plaza. Tom says the walk from the lobby to the offices on the 7th and K Street corner was way too far and 700 K needed its own lobby facing K Street.

The new lobby, rendered above, will feature similar finishes to the building's exterior with brick, stone-polished concrete and metal. The two-story lobby will have a backlit feature that will shine out onto the K Street sidewalk and connect to some of the building's amenities, including the third-floor conference area and a fitness center for tenants, which will be separate from the public gym Meridian is looking to fill some of the retail space with. 

"We wanted to make it more efficient for tenants of the building in the future," Tom says, "and also build on that design aesthetic and flow that authentic language of the exterior into the building's lobby."

700 K St NW 9th floor terrace

The 6k SF terrace on the ninth floor, rendered above, will look out over the historic Carnegie Library

"That alone is just an irreplaceable amenity to building," Tom says. "The views from there up Mass Ave, up New York, up 7th. It's an amazing amenity that is unique to this building."

The floor plates on floors three to nine will be more suited for creative-type tenants and have lower rents than the top four floors. Tom describes floors nine through 12 as "super-boutique trophy space" and said they will cater to the most high-end tenants like law firms. Another rooftop terrace above the 12th floor will be available to those tenants and feature Capitol views.

Anthem Row

The building will feature two stories of retail fronting K Street, 7th Street, and the interior 8th Street pedestrian plaza, rendered above, which will be branded as Anthem Row

Meridian has brought on Streetsense for the retail leasing. Tom says the vision is for Anthem Row to be an "everyman's CityCenter" referring to the high-end luxury retail plaza just two blocks away. He says they are in talks with a fitness club, have received interest from restaurants for the corner spots, and hope to fill in the rest with fast-casual eateries and soft-goods retailers.

"That 8th Street revitalization might be the most important part," Tom says. "We're creating a destination, a vibrant, walkable, storefront street with plenty of retail that's approachable. It will be a place to have lunch, grab dinner or have happy hour."