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Rockrose's Renovation Fury

Rockrose Development has been one of DC's most active buyers the past few years. (We did our best, but we haven't been as active since Hecht's closed.) The firm is now ready to show off the shiny new renovations on the first two assets it purchased in the District.

First up: 1776 Eye Street, the 225k SF office Rockrose scooped up in March 2012 and has since poured in $20M in renovations for. The building's leasing agents, Cassidy Turley's Richard Tonner, Eli Barnes, Will Stern, and Kate Oelschig, tell us Rockrose aimed to bring the 1987-vintage building to the 21st century with a new two-story, glass-lit lobby, new elevators, an updated fitness center. 1776 also includes an expanded roof terrace and basketball court (each to be finished this summer) as well as slew of new spec suites.

All the see-through glass makes for a terrible haunted house, but a great collaborative space. In one of the second floor suites, here's Will, Kate, and Rockrose's Craig Deitelzweig, in from New York. Craig says the firm spent ample time on design for the suites, which include an emphasis on glass and other modern features to make the spaces pop. "Tenants will see eight spaces or so [on tours], so we want ours to be the differentiator," he says, noting that two similar spec suites next door to this one have already been leased up. There are four more available on the third, with rents in the low-$60s/PSF.

The renovated lobby includes the nifty lit-glass fins seen above, and Craig says the new look stems from a goal to wow visitors and tenants as soon as they enter 1776 Eye: "We wanted the whole building to be trophy from the moment you walk in." (Those of you with your head in phones are missing a great show.)

And the high-end finishes aren't just limited to the lobby—even the locker rooms of Revolution Fitness (the new name for the fitness center, keeping with the 1776 theme) have gotten a trophy facelift. Craig says they wanted the new features of the lobby to match up with those in the new fitness center to keep the trophy feel going throughout.

Just a short walk up from 1776 is Rockrose's first DC acquisition—1150 18th Street. Though the firm has since bought four other CBD properties (including 1776), it's maiden entrance into the DC market was the 180k SF Don Hisaka-designed building, which it scooped up in early 2011. 1150 18th includes floor-to-ceiling glass (as seen here from 18th Street), filling the building's suites with tons of natural light.

Here's Will, Kate, and Craig in 1150's lobby, which includes the massive Sol LeWitt wall drawing behind them. The drawing, which NYC's Whitney Museum helped bring to the building, came to 1150 in 2012 and is one of the few LeWitt installations in DC.

Craig says the light-filled design and wide-open floor plans of 1150 were almost "too modern" when the property delivered in 1990. (We told our classmates the same thing about our wardrobe.) But the features are now exactly what today's efficiency-starved tenants in DC crave, keeping 1150—and its 5,000 available SF at a rent in the low $50/PSF range—well-poised going forward. Will tells us the space sets up well for high-end law and tech firms seeking a modern twist.

The light and airy feel was enough for SKDKnickerbocker, the communications firm led in part by former White House communications director Anita Dunn, to relocate its HQ to the entire eighth floor of 1150 last summer.