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Law Firm Shifts Office Style In Move To JBG Smith's Dupont Circle Project

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Law firms in D.C. continue to abandon their traditional style of office in favor of more open, collaborative workspaces, with the latest moving from the East End to Dupont Circle.

1900 N 2
The entrance to the 1900 N building

Goodwin moved in Monday to its 93K SF space on the upper floors of JBG Smith's new 1900 N St. NW development, a lease Bisnow first reported in April 2017. 

The law firm moved to Dupont Circle from 901 New York Ave. NW, a Boston Properties-owned office building near Mount Vernon Square. As its lease expiration approached, Goodwin decided it either needed to relocate or completely redesign its existing office. 

"Our previous office was adequate but uninspired," Goodwin D.C. Office co-Chair Andrea Murino said. "It didn't enable the kind of group dynamics we have." 

Goodwin cutting the ribbon in the 10th story lobby of its its new office
Goodwin's team members cutting the ribbon in the firm's new office

The firm, which has about 200 people in its D.C. office, chose to relocate to JBG Smith's 1900 N development, serving as the anchor tenant that allowed construction to begin. The building sits one block south of the Dupont Circle Metro station and is surrounded by food and drink options. 

"It is in a really vibrant part of town with neighborhood amenities," Murino said.  

Its new office, occupying the entire top three floors and a portion of the eighth floor, displays many of the concepts tenants have been moving toward in today's market.

It is part of a larger strategy Goodwin is employing across its real estate portfolio. The firm, founded in Boston in 1912, recently opened new offices in Luxembourg and Santa Monica. 

"We've done this throughout our portfolio with more collaborative spaces, clear glass and uniform office sizes," said Alexander Randall, Goodwin partner and real estate counsel. "It creates a completely different feel."

One of the offices in Goodwin's 1900 N space
One of the offices in Goodwin's 1900 N space

The offices themselves represent a significant shift in Goodwin's style. Their desks rise to allow attorneys to stand while working, and they have glass walls facing the hallway, both of which didn't exist in their old office. The offices are all roughly the same size, about 145 SF to 155 SF.

"The same-size offices is a reflection that you don't need to go with the old law firm model of larger offices for partners," Murino said. 

The internal staircase in Goodwin's 1900 N office
The internal staircase in Goodwin's 1900 N office

The office features an internal staircase that connects the ninth, 10th and 11th floors. The central staircase is surrounded by open space on each floor with seating areas and other amenities. 

The space has around a dozen conference rooms. The firm allowed its staff to vote on the names of the conference rooms, and they chose to name them after D.C. neighborhoods such as Shaw and Foggy Bottom

The multi-purpose room in Goodwin's 1900 N office
The 11th floor multipurpose space in Goodwin's 1900 N office

The largest of the conference rooms is a multipurpose space on the 11th floor. It can be divided into two rooms for smaller groups. 

"It is highly functional and flexible," Randall said. 

Through the window of the multipurpose space, employees can see the red truss that not only serves as a distinguishing architectural feature of the building, but also as a structural support. 

The 1900 N office building
The 1900 N office building

The truss allows the northeast corner of the building to appear to float without a beam on the 19th and N street corner, creating a large, open entryway. 

KPF Architects served as the design architect for the building, while Fox Architects served as the architect of record. 

The cafeteria space in Goodwin's 1900 N office
The cafeteria space in Goodwin's 1900 N office

The open area on the ninth floor of Goodwin's office features its main cafeteria space. There, employees can pour free coffee or buy a variety of snacks and grab-and-go meals. It also has a television, which was showing CNN on Monday.

Each of Goodwin's four floors has a smaller pantry area with a refrigerator, a microwave and a seating area for employees to gather. 

The rooftop amenity space at the 1900 N building
The shared rooftop amenity space at the 1900 N building

The building's rooftop features a large, indoor-outdoor amenity space. Goodwin has a private section of the rooftop to itself, while the remainder of the rooftop is available to all tenants. The rooftop features wide-ranging views from Rosslyn to the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral. 

"The 360-degree views were one of the things that appealed to us," Randall said. 

The fitness center in the 1900 N building
The fitness center in the 1900 N building, with some equipment yet to be installed

The building has a fitness center on the second floor, available to all tenants. Additionally, the eighth floor will feature a wellness area with a yoga room that is still under construction and expected to be completed by January. 

Other tenants that have signed on in the building include CBRE, taking 55K SF, and law firm Beveridge & Diamond, occupying 41K SF. 

The lobby in JBG Smith's 1900 N building
The lobby in JBG Smith's 1900 N building

The building was 73% leased as of the end of Q3, according to JBG Smith's investor letter released Tuesday. The landlord said the building has achieved rents of $85.95 per SF. 

By comparison, the average D.C. office rent is $59.65 per SF, according to JLL. The average rent in the Dupont-Logan-Shaw submarket, where 1900 is located, is $53.71 per SF.