Venable Pre-Leases 250 KSF in New Washington Office Building

In the first quarter of 2017, Venable L.L.C., a national law firm, will move its Washington, D.C., headquarters to a building under construction at 600 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

In the first quarter of 2017, Venable L.L.C., a national law firm, will move its Washington, D.C., headquarters to a building under construction at 600 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which represented Venable in the site selection and lease negotiation, announced Monday.

Venable will lease about 250,000 square feet, or roughly 66 percent, of the office space in the building, which will contain about 375,000 square feet of office space and about 25,000 square feet of retail, Garrett Preis of Gould Property Co., the building’s owner and developer, told Commercial Property Executive.600 Massachusetts Ave. Washington

“We started construction in July and are well into our excavation,” said Preis, who added that completion is scheduled for July 2016 and no other leases have yet been signed.

Venable’s Washington office currently has about 400 lawyers and staff, and the new space “will allow us to continue to grow,” Venable vice chair Brian Schwalb said in a statement.

Located in the city’s Penn Quarter neighborhood, 600 Massachusetts Ave. is only a couple of blocks from Venable’s current D.C. office at 575 Seventh St. The 10-story, LEED Platinum building was designed by CORE Architecture, is near the Gallery Place/Chinatown and Mt. Vernon Metro stations, and will feature on-site parking, a fitness center and a first-class restaurant.

Designed by Alliance Architecture, the law firm’s space will consist of five full floors plus additional space on two other adjoining floors, as well as concourse space and a ground-level reception area. Venable’s quarters will feature a cafeteria, multiple terraces for events, a two-story multi-purpose room and, unusually, a bocce court on the roof, “so that the firm can continue its tradition of friendly, albeit competitive, bocce tournaments,” according to Venable.

Aaron Katz, Mike Shuler and Pat Nalls of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank represented Venable.

Earlier this year, Venable was ranked by American Lawyer as the number 71 U.S. law firm in terms of 2013 gross revenue and by the National Law Journal as among the top 20 Washington, D.C.–area law firms.

The Venable lease comes amid a softening office market and slow rent increases, driven by weak job growth and a paradoxically vigorous pace of office construction, about half of which is spec, according to a third-quarter report from Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services Inc. About 5.4 million square feet of office space was completed in the metro Washington market over the last four quarters, and another 5 million square feet is currently under construction.

Big moves continue to happen, Marcus & Millichap reports. The U.S. State Department has proposed a consolidation of six locations into a 500,000-square-foot campus in Foggy Bottom, the Navy Federal Credit Union is looking to expand into a 230,000-square-foot building in Fairfax County, and the Washington Post will move to 248,000 square feet at One Franklin Square in 2016.