What is DC’s most expensive street?

An illustration of the Hoffman-Madison Waterfront located in The Wharf in D.C. (Courtesy Hoffman-Madison Waterfront)

Pennsylvania Avenue is no longer the most expensive office address in D.C. It has been replaced by Maine Avenue, located at The Wharf on the Southwest Waterfront.

The average asking rent on Maine Avenue is more than $80-per square foot, with the highest rent on the street of $95-per square foot.

Maine Avenue leases command a 63% premium to the overall D.C. office market, according to the latest report from commercial real estate services company JLL. And the vacancy rate is just 2.5%.

Ranking as the most expensive street is based on just a handful of leases, all of which are in expensive trophy buildings, including 670, 680, 800 and 1000 Maine Avenue.

Maine Avenue has vaulted past Pennsylvania Avenue because the development is all new.

“It is a new development. It started pre-COVID. They were putting up big, beautiful glass boxes. They’re all waterfront. They’ve got glass fronts facing the water. They have food. They have retail. There is a hotel,” said Anna Shaffer, managing director and office lead for the D.C. tenant representative team at JLL.

Andrew Son, president of District Wharf Properties said the strategy the company has implemented at The Wharf is “clearly working.”

“We’ve paired top-tier waterfront product with unmatched neighborhood amenities to attract nationally acclaimed businesses and drive occupancy and rental rates – at a time when the broader office market in D.C. and other metropolitan areas continues to stagnate,” Son said.

JLL’s rankings of most expensive streets in D.C. is based on both asking rent and achieved rent. The latter is generally lower, because achieved rent does not include any landlord incentives offered as part of the lease.

Notable corporate headquarters leases at The Wharf include: The Freedom Forum, Washington Gas, Daimler North America, The Atlantic, American Psychiatric Association, law firms Michael Best & Friedrich LLP and Williams & Connolly LLP, and corporate headquarters for The Wharf developers Madison Marquette and Hoffman & Associates.

Pennsylvania Avenue now ranks as the second-most expensive street in D.C. for office space, but that is not a sign it is losing clout.

“I don’t think anything is working against Pennsylvania Avenue. Pennsylvania Avenue is pretty-well saturated. It’s close to the White House. It’s a great thoroughfare heading out of the city. I can’t see anything going against Pennsylvania Avenue,” Shaffer said.

Rounding out the top five most expensive streets for commercial rent are New York Avenue NW, F Street NW, both in the East End Business District, and 21st Street NW, in the Central Business District.

D.C.’s Maine Avenue also ranks among the elite nationwide, coming in at No. 10 nationally for leasing rents.

Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California, tops the list, with asking rent of $167.74-per-square-foot and the highest rent fetching more than $200-per square foot. Below are the 10 most expensive streets on JLL’s 2024 report. The full report is online.

JLL's List of Most Expensive Streets

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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