Because the District of Columbia is the capital of the United States and the seat of the federal government, D.C. office space naturally attracts agencies, lobbying firms, think tanks, and nonprofits that want to operate close to the federal government. D.C. is not only home to the U.S. President but also to Congress, the Supreme Court, and 177 foreign embassies.
Though the federal government is the largest employer in the metro area, the private sector in Washington, D.C., is continuously diversifying, and the area houses a variety of large and small businesses engaged in healthcare, technology, media, tourism, education, business management, and scientific research. The headquarters for many international organizations, non-profits, and professional associations are based in D.C., such as the World Bank Group, AARP, the National Geographic Society, the International Finance Campaign, and the American Red Cross.
D.C.’s hiring pool overflows with seasoned and educated professionals, and numerous colleges and universities in the area guarantee a regular flow of new talent. The historical and cultural attractions in the area provide a backdrop for the dynamic food, music, sports, and outdoor scenes that make office space in D.C. an attractive option for businesses of all kinds. In 2017, D.C. had approximately 6.2 million residents, and the capital attracts around 20 million tourists each year, contributing to the economy.
What our brokers say about Washington, D.C., office space
In Q4 of 2019, the District of Columbia office market was characterized by rising vacancies, an increase in the popularity of coworking spaces, and government entities moving from leasing to owning their office space.
Washington, D.C., office space vacancy has risen to 14.8%, the highest it has been in the past decade. Vacancy is expected to reach 16% mid-2020. WeWork established two co-working locations in the CBD and in NoMa. Coworking firm Industrious signed a lease at 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, and coworking firm Knotel signed one at 909 E. Street, NW. Despite these moves, Cushman & Wakefield predicts that coworking activity will decrease in the near future. The federal government currently leases approximately 16% of D.C. office space.
Recent notable leases include PwC leasing space at 655 New York Avenue NW in the East End submarket; Perkins Cole leasing office space at 700 13th Street NW in the East End; CNN leasing space at 820 1st Street NE in Capitol Hill/NoMa; Danaher renting space at 2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in the CBD; and Seyfarth Shaw renting space at 975 F Street NW in the East End.
Washington, D.C., office space | Lease data & trends
According to a publicly available commercial real estate data map, the D.C. office space inventory is spread fairly evenly between D.C. proper, Northern Virginia, and Suburban Maryland. D.C. proper houses more than 112 million square feet of office space inventory with another 3.2 million under construction. In Q4 of 2019, developers finished 250 Massachusetts Avenue NW in Capitol Hill/NoMa, as well as 1900 N. Street NW in D.C.’s CBD, where Goodwin Procter, CBRE, and Beveridge & Diamond will operate.
Office space seekers in Washington, D.C., can expect to find leases averaging just over $55.50 per square foot for all classes and just over $62 per square foot for Class A office space. D.C. offers a wide range of private offices, co-working spaces, and retail spaces for lease.
Washington, D.C. Office Space | Average Asking Rents per Square Foot
|Washington DC||Average Rent Per SqFt|
Getting around: Transportation in Washington, D.C.
With three major airports, six Metrorail lines, three commuter rail services, nine intercity bus lines, and 350 Metrobus routes, Washington, D.C., locals have never-ending options for getting around. We recommend using public transportation when possible, but street and garage parking is available for those who choose to commute via car, although parking tends to fill up quickly. Car rentals, care shares, and taxis are always flexible commuting options.
Washington, D.C. is notorious for its traffic and congestion. Data firm Inrix’s 2017 analysis rated D.C. as the 6th most car-clogged city in the United States (behind Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Miami), and number 15 overall globally, between Mexico City and Istanbul.
Thankfully, employees will find the heart of most neighborhoods very easy to navigate on foot. The D.C. area is very bike friendly, with off-street trails and on-street bike routes all around the city and more than 350 Capital Bikeshare stations. D.C., Alexandria, Arlington, Bethesda, and Silver Spring are all rated as extremely walkable by WalkScore. Washington, D.C. is rated as the 7th most walkable US city, and Dupont Circle, U-Street, and Downtown-Chinatown are considered the most walkable areas.
Many DC residents commute by bike, but although it is mostly convenient to get from Point A to Point B, there is still limited bike infrastructure.
Popular Washington, D.C., submarkets
Washington, D.C., is a large office market that is typically divided into several smaller submarkets. If you’re thinking of doing business in our nation’s capital, begin by researching the available neighborhoods:
Capitol Hill, the largest business center in D.C., bursts with charm as one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in D.C. but still retains the formality expected of the area that houses the United States Capitol, the House and Senate office buildings, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. The neighborhood is near the Anacostia River, H Street corridor, Washington Navy Yard, and the National Mall. Government relations firms and agencies tend to rent Capitol Hill’s office space at the highest prices for Class A property in D.C. The Orange, Red, Silver, and Yellow lines all stop in Capitol Hill, as well as plenty of bus routes.
Together with NoMa, Capitol Hill office space rents for an average of just under $53.75 per square foot. Class A office space in Capitol Hill costs around $58 per square foot.
Downtown Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C.’s Central Business District is in the northwest quadrant of D.C. and extends approximately six blocks north, west, and east of the White House. Boutique law firms, government contractors, non-profits, and business management consultants rent office space in Downtown Washington D.C., as well as a rising number of software and media companies. George Washington University provides employers with a talented young hiring pool. The Red, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines all connect at the Metro Center, located just a few blocks from the White House.
Downtown DC contains more than 34.5 million square feet of office space, with a 14.5% vacancy rate. Office space in Class A buildings costs around $66.50 per square foot to lease, compared to around $56.75 for all classes. An additional 1.3 million square feet of additional office and retail space is under development in the neighborhood.
Dupont-Logan-Shaw is a primarily residential district that combines the historic charm of Dupont Circle and Logan Circle with the more modern and up-and-coming Shaw neighborhood. Dupont Circle has the largest concentration of international embassies in D.C. and attracts companies with global interests. Other commercial tenants in the area also include business management and sales consultants, real estate offices, nonprofits, and software companies. Four metro stations and a dozen buses service the area.
East End, also called “Old Downtown,” includes Penn Quarter, Chinatown, Judiciary Square, and Mount Vernon Square. Companies in the asset management, insurance, investment, healthcare, and legal sectors tend to flock to the East End to rent office space.
Verizon Center is located in East End and has revitalized the area into an art and entertainment hub. All six metro lines stop in the area, and commuters have their pick of bus lines as well as the DC Circulator. Right now, the East End houses 39.2 million square feet of office space, and the vacancy rate is at 18%. The asking rent for all classes averages just over $57.25 per square foot, and the Class A average asking rent rests just over $62.75 per square foot.
Founded more than 50 years before Washington, D.C., Georgetown maintains a historic charm that blends seamlessly with the neighborhood’s upscale and modern features. Georgetown is located around the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Many companies in the architecture, design, communications, media, and tech sectors rent office space in Georgetown. Georgetown office space, which rents for an average of $60.60 per square foot for Class A, is in high demand due to its low inventory and waterfront location. Three metro stations are located within one mile of Georgetown, and the 30-series, D-series, and G2 buses have routes through the neighborhood. Drivers can take the Whitehurst Freeway along Georgetown’s southern border, or commute from Arlington via the Francis Scott Key Bridge.
Market District encompasses D.C.’s oldest public marketplace, Eastern Market. The neighborhood has a 50% vacancy in Class A inventory, partly due to higher-than-average rents. Eastern Market attracts small family-owned businesses, restaurateurs, and artists. Market District is easily accessible via the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines.
NoMa, or “North of Massachusetts Avenue,” stretches just over a mile north of Union Station. NoMa is home to the Union Market food hall, NPR, Amazon’s D.C. headquarters, and affordable Class A prices. Together with Capitol Hill, the average asking rent for Class A buildings is just over $58 per square foot. Union Station provides employees from outside D.C. with an easy commute. NoMa is also served by the Red Line and about a dozen buses and is one of the most bike-friendly districts with a protected cycle track and eight Capital Bikeshare stations.
Five different neighborhoods comprise the southwestern and smallest quadrant of D.C.: the Southwest Federal Center, the Southwest Waterfront, Buzzard Point, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, and Bellevue. Despite its small size, Southwest D.C. contains more than 11.6 million square feet of inventory with some of the best prices in D.C. Rent Class A office space here for an average of just over $49.50 per square foot. Many federal executive branch office buildings are concentrated in Southwest Federal Center. The Blue, Orange, Silver, Green and Yellow lines all stop at Southwest stations.
Upper Northwest is an affluent, primarily residential neighborhood. Office space in this neighborhood tends to attract many law offices, business management consultants, and tax consultants. The neighborhood includes Glover Park, Cleveland Park, Tenleytown and Friendship Heights. Upper Northwest is accessible by the Red Line, eight bus routes, and a variety of ride shares.
Navy Yard – Ballpark
Home to Nationals Park baseball park, the Ballpark district is located south of Capitol Hill and between Interstate 395 and the Anacostia River. Nationals Park stimulated further development in the neighborhood, which is evident in the thriving Capitol Riverfront area, where office space attracts tenants in the media and creative industries. Ballpark office space is perfect for companies wanting immediate access to D.C. at affordable prices. The Green-Line runs to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Station.
Located in D.C.’s northwest quadrant, the West End is bordered by K Street, Rock Creek Park, and New Hampshire Avenue. West End office space attracts lobbyists, special interest groups, federal contractors, and financial advisors as well as the energy and technology industries. West End office space costs an average of $51.50 per square foot for all classes. The Blue and Orange Lines run along Eye Street, and commuters can also choose from a handful of bus lines.
Alexandria, VA presents a low-cost option for businesses who want to pay less for office spaces but still operate close to D.C. Alexandria is a short commute away from the D.C. Central Business District and features significantly lower office space rental prices (the average is around $40 per square foot). Notable tenants include Rosetta Stone, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, The Nature Conservancy, Nestle, and PBS.
Top commercial real estate listings in Washington, D.C.
When your team decides to put down roots in Washington, D.C., the numerous office space listings might be intimidating. Start by taking a look at these three recommended office spaces in D.C. with your team, or contact one of our experienced brokers, who would love to help you find whatever type of office space you need.
– 1712 I Street Northwest: Built in 1981, 1712 I Street Northwest is a 39-story, Class B office building housing 60,361 square feet of space. Current tenants of the property include Capital Dental Center, Dunn Dental Group, Total Health Physical Therapy, and Center for Neuromuscular & Massage Rehabilitation. Right now two suites are available for rent in the building; one is 536 square feet in size, and the other is 1,510 square feet in size. Contact SquareFoot to learn more about pricing and amenities.
– 815 Connecticut Avenue Northwest: 815 Connecticut Avenue Northwest is a Class A office building located just one block from the White House. Tenants of the property include United Airlines, SK Hynix, The Blackstone Group, Baker & McKenzie, and Cornell University. Seven suites are available in the building, and they range from 1,251 to 18,330 square feet in size. Contact our brokers to see if this property has everything on your list. The building has a Walk Score of 97.
– 1010 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest: 1010 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest is a 9-story office building in the Georgetown area of D.C. with beautiful views of the Potomac River, Kennedy Center, Key Bridge and Roslyn. In this office building, tenants can sit in conference rooms and enjoy the beauty of the National Park Service’s Georgetown Waterfront Park, which is right across the street. The building contains both office and retail space. Building amenities include a fully remodeled lobby, balconies and terraces overlooking the river, on-site daycare, wood beams, and brick walls. CMG Partners, Mimar Ponte Mellor of DC and Tuohy already do business in 1010 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest. Eleven suites ranging from 715 to 5,428 square feet in size are available for lease. Contact SquareFoot to inquire about pricing or to come see the view of the river for yourself.