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JPMorgan Unveils Bigger-Than-Expected D.C. HQ Amid Return-To-Office Push

JPMorgan Chase cut the ribbon on its new Washington, D.C., regional headquarters Monday, an office that is more than twice the size the bank originally planned when it acquired the Bowen Building near the White House in 2018 and started to redevelop it.

The redesign resulted in JPMorgan occupying more than six floors of the 12-floor office building at 875 15th St. NW, where company leaders were joined by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and other District officials for a ceremony that doubled as a chance to extol the benefits of bringing employees back to the office.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, center, joined JPMorgan Chase executives in cutting the ribbon at JPMorgan's new regional headquarters in downtown D.C.

The new office was designed to maximize communal spaces and square footage per person, D’Juan O’Donald, executive director of global real estate at JPMorgan, told Bisnow in an interview before the ribbon-cutting. Its opening wasn't just an opportunity for leaders to pitch their vision of the future of office as something more informal and collaborative than before, he said, but also to affirm the importance of the office environment itself as a part of the region’s economic future.

“There’s been a large commitment to the Greater Washington area by the firm,” O’Donald said. “This was an opportunity to plant a flag in downtown D.C., to consolidate our footprint as well as facilitate future growth.” 

JPMorgan planned a major refresh as it consolidated its downtown offices. Originally, the firm planned to take up roughly three floors in the building, but employee interest in using the office drove JPMorgan to increase its footprint, O'Donald said at a Bisnow event earlier this year. Now, more than 500 employees are expected to come into the office three to five days a week.

To make the commute worthwhile, a quarter of each of JPMorgan’s floors is built out for open, flex or collaborative spaces, O’Donald said, with hoteling — where employees use communal desks instead of having their own — a “huge part” of the mix.

O’Donald said he hopes others will follow JPMorgan's lead in finding ways to make offices a desirable place for their employees to visit.

“We’re at the forefront of walking it like we talk it,” O’Donald said. “We hope that others will see and sense the energy that JPMorgan has brought and also appreciate that the one amenity to space that likely isn’t celebrated enough is collaboration.”

The opening of the 231K SF Bowen Building, whose other floors JPMorgan has nearly fully leased to other tenants, O'Donald said, is a significant milestone for D.C.'s central business district, which has seen a sluggish pace of workers returning to offices. 

Also on Monday, the city’s Business Improvement District Council announced a new Return To DC campaign, which seeks to change the narrative on office districts by emphasizing the city’s cultural opportunities.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks at the ribbon-cutting for JPMorgan Chase's regional headquarters.

At the ribbon-cutting, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser sought to tie the Bowen Building’s collaboration-focused office space with her months-long pitch for workers to return to the office.

The BID Council is “focused, like we are, on how to bring our commercial corridors back,” Bowser said. “Like [JPMorgan Chase] has figured out and like D.C. government has figured out how to bring workers back to the office, we have all learned that being flexible, supporting our employees’ needs and also highlighting the collaboration that can only happen when we’re together is what our businesses, our government and our downtown needs.”

The BID Council’s initiative will be particularly important for areas like downtown D.C. and the Golden Triangle, served by two BIDs that have spoken in the past about the need to diversify their neighborhoods.

Golden Triangle is ramping up its efforts in Farragut Square to bring back the programs it put on before the pandemic, including exercise classes, summer movie nights, and putting out tables and chairs to encourage workers to hang around outdoor public spaces in the BID.

Gerren Price, acting president and CEO of the DowntownDC BID, said the initiative wasn’t just part of getting workers at their desks but an effort to remind workers currently at home about the level of amenities that downtown has to offer.

“Don't just come for work; come for the amenities and come for the collaboration,” Price said.

JPMorgan is expanding its footprint in the community as well. When it first announced its regional headquarters in D.C., the firm committed to building 70 branches in the broader community by 2025. At the ribbon-cutting Monday, the firm said it expects to reach that goal by the end of this year, so it will look to double its commitment and open 70 more by 2025.

The expansion allows JPMorgan to be more “proximate” to the communities it serves and help bolster financial health and literacy, particularly in Black and Brown communities, said Racquel Oden, head of Chase network expansion at JPMorgan.

“There’s a long divide of Brown and Black people not feeling part of it,” Oden said. “But we are there to serve you, we are there to serve the community.”