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Washington Post Commits To Downtown D.C. HQ Through 2037

The Washington Post has decided to keep its headquarters at the One Franklin Square building in downtown D.C. for at least 13 more years, Bisnow has learned.

The company signed a lease renewal at the prominent Hines-owned building near the McPherson Square Metro station at 1301 K St. NW, where it moved eight years ago, documents filed with the D.C. Recorder of Deeds Tuesday show. A source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to Bisnow the newspaper is keeping its entire footprint in the building.

The deal represents a win for a central business district that has faced a series of high-profile departures in recent months. 

The Washington Post is located at Hines' One Franklin Square in downtown D.C.

The new lease expires Dec. 13, 2037, according to the documents, with an option to extend five years. The newspaper's initial lease at the building ran through 2031, according to previous reports.  

The Post opened at the 612K SF property with 250K SF in December 2015 and had expanded to 306K SF by 2021.

The Post occupies the fourth through ninth floors in the west tower, the sixth through ninth in the east tower and a portion of the ground floor behind the lobby, according to the documents. 

The Washington Post didn't respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Hines declined to comment. 

The move to Franklin Square was monumental for the Post, which had been at its previous home just a few blocks away since 1950 but signed a lease to move to Hines’ building in 2014. 

That decision came shortly after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos acquired the Post. The newspaper had previously considered leaving downtown for the fast-developing NoMa neighborhood in Northeast D.C. before Bezos opted to remain downtown and relocate to One Franklin Square, the Post reported in 2015. 

The newspaper has faced challenges over the last year, initiating buyouts in October to cut its staff by 240. The Post announced it met its goal in December.

The ground floor of One Franklin Square features Compass Coffee and SoHo Cafe & Market. Law firm Reed Smith LLP renewed a nearly 80K SF lease at the property in 2016, set to expire in 2027. Law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP signed a 49K SF lease through 2032. The Washington Post has signage rights for the property. 

Hines put One Franklin Square up for sale or recapitalization in August 2021, but it has remained the owner of the property.

The Post’s renewed commitment to downtown D.C. comes as some of its neighbors have decided to vacate their spaces in the area. 

At the redevelopment of the Post's former headquarters site, Carr Properties' Midtown Center, Fannie Mae opted to vacate its 720K SF lease early in 2029, Bisnow first reported last month. It remains unclear if the company will stay in the District after the expiration. 

Meanwhile, CoStar plans to move later this year from its home at 1331 L St. NW, two blocks from One Franklin Square, to a 31-story office tower it purchased this month in Arlington, Virginia's Rosslyn neighborhood. 

Downtown D.C. is also facing the potential loss of the NHL's Capitals and the NBA's Wizards after Monumental Sports & Entertainment in December announced plans to relocate the teams to a new arena in Alexandria's Potomac Yard. That project still needs approval from the Virginia Legislature.  

D.C. also faces record-high office vacancy of 21.2%, as many tenants have decided to downsize their footprints since the onset of the pandemic, relocate to the suburbs and shift to hybrid work.