Avison Young Completes 140,000 SF of Leasing in 18 Months at Newly Renovated Franklin Square in Washington, DC

Avison Young announced today the closing of 140,000 square feet (SF) in lease transactions at 1300 Eye Street NW in Washington, DC over the last 18 months. The 485,000-SF historic building, commonly referred to as Franklin Square, recently underwent a stunning renovation to transform it into an iconic trophy office building.  

Recognized as retrofit’s 2021 “Metamorphosis of the Year,” Franklin Square’s renovation was led by global investment managers Nuveen Real Estate and Norges Bank Investment Management, co-owners of the building.  

Since the renovations delivered in early 2021, Nuveen and leasing partner Avison Young have executed five new leases totaling 112,000 SF, and two lease renewals totaling 28,000 SF. New tenants include the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, the Bank Policy Institute, Greenpeace, TIAA-CREF, and DAV (Disabled American Veterans), with lease renewals from the American Public Transportation Association and the American Water Works Association. 

The Avison Young leasing team, led by Principals Will Stern and Eli Barnes, Senior Vice President Lauryn Harris and Senior Associate Alston Offutt, has represented Franklin Square for over 15 years. With the new leases, the building is now 95 percent leased.

“We are pleased to welcome these new tenants and continue the partnerships with existing tenants at Franklin Square,” Stern said. “With a renovation that both honors and enhances an iconic piece of history, Franklin Square combines the charm of years past with the best of today’s workplace technologies and amenities. 

Franklin Square is prominently situated on the south side of Franklin Square Park, which recently received a $21 million renovation that includes a new central fountain as a tribute to the park’s historic roots. The park also features a new restaurant pavilion, children’s play area, seating, lighting and pathways.  

Thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows, Franklin Square offers sweeping views of the park’s transformation throughout the north side of the building. 

“With the phenomenal renovations of both the building and the park, Franklin Square has caught the attention of numerous tenants across the DC region,” Harris said. “We look forward to continued leasing success and ultimately getting Franklin Square to 100% leased in the near future.” 

The building’s transformation was a collaborative effort between Nuveen, Norges Bank Investment Management and Avison Young, with project management by Hines Company, property management through Cushman & Wakefield, the architecture designed by Hickok Cole Architecture, and construction performed by Rand Construction.  

Originally designed by architect Philip B. Johnson, the building’s modernization embraced the sustainable practice of adaptive re-use. The addition of a new three-story glass entrance fronting Franklin Square Park brought the building’s bronze-clad grates and medallions to the building’s concourse level, where they became the perfect accent for the building’s conference facility and breakout rooms. Slab openings from the lobby to the concourse level create further synergies and connection points to the building amenity areas, including: 

  • A 10,000-SF conference facility to accommodate groups of all sizes, plus six conference rooms of varying capacities ranging from 12 to 120 people; 
  • A 5,000-SF modern fitness facility featuring a multi-purpose exercise studio with in-person and virtual classes, as well as high-end equipment, including Peloton bikes; 
  • A best-in-class bike room, lobby café operated by onsite fast casual restaurant The Best Sandwich Place, and a new Dallas-based restaurant to replace Toro Toro (coming soon). 

“Franklin Square has enhanced its focus on hospitality, flexibility, sustainability and convenience to bring its tenants and their guests back into the office,” Barnes said. “The update has been carefully thought out to remain true to the building’s original architecture while bringing a timeless, sophisticated new style. The results are extraordinary.” 

The building is LEED Gold rated and offers some of the latest technologies to provide healthier, safer spaces, including advanced air filtration via the building’s VAV HVAC system and CleanAir Ion units in the passenger elevators. An on-site events-hospitality manager oversees all amenities and the building’s mobile application ensures all tenant needs on site are just “one tap” away. 

“The office landscape is shifting under our feet along with the needs of office tenants,” said Chris Horning, Asset Manager for Nuveen Real Estate at Franklin Square. “At one point in time, the office’s sole purpose was for work; today that purpose has morphed into a place where employees can convene, collaborate and create a sense of community and purpose. 

“Franklin Square combines all elements of the quintessential workplace into one masterfully crafted and concise package,” Horning added. “The biggest testament of the team’s success on the renovation is the commitment of our tenants to the building; we are please to expand our partnerships with new and existing tenants.” 

More information and a short video about the building can be found at www.franklinsqdc.com.