Leases  ·  Office

Democracy International Relocating and Expanding in Bethesda

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Fair election advocacy group Democracy International has inked a 15,303-square-foot lease at 7200 Wisconsin Avenue, a 12-story office building in Bethesda, Md.

JBG Smith (JBGS) owns the 276,000-square-foot property, having acquired it in 2008 for $135 million when the company was known as JBG Cos. The building was built in 1986 and renovated in 2020.

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Democracy International, a U.S. State Department-backed non-governmental organization best known for election monitoring, will be relocating from 10,800 square feet at nearby 7600 Wisconsin Avenue this fall.

Savills represented the tenant in the deal. The rent was not disclosed but office rents in Bethesda averaged $31.51 per square foot in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to Savills.

Wendy Feldman Block, an executive managing director for the firm, told Commercial Observer that Democracy International’s need to relocate was driven by an upcoming lease expiration, insufficient space and a need for greater flexibility in the office layout to encourage more collaboration and easier conferencing.

“They also wanted a more modern-feeling space with abundant natural light and glass within the space,” she said. “Also, it is important to note that they were able to leverage a built-out space with many of the features they wanted, requiring far less construction that would have been necessitated. This saved considerable money and time.”

The building features a recently renovated lobby, a gym, and conference and multipurpose spaces.  

“Our new location represents our commitment to providing an engaging and dynamic workplace for our growing team,” Eric Bjornlund, Democracy International’s president, said in a statement. “We were able to leverage existing conditions that allow us to save capital and invest in our important mission of helping to build a more peaceful, democratic world.”

Joining Block on the deal was Savills’ Danielle Ferrari. The landlord was represented by Niel Beggy of CBRE (CBRE) and Tyler Luckett and Andrea Murray at JBG Smith.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.