New Menkiti Group HQ, a set on Flickr.
Last winter I learned that the building at 3407 8th Street NE was being gutted and renovated to become the new headquarters for local real estate firm, the Menkiti Group. Since then, I have been curious about the transformation the warehouse-like building would undergo. Last week I caught up with Mark Rengel, Vice President of Development for the Menkiti Group, who gave me a tour of the new headquarters the day after they moved in. This is the firm’s third move since being founded in 2004; their previous locations were on 12th Street, NE. He explained that the move was necessary to accommodate their growing team. They also wanted to have the whole team – development, design, sales, and commercial under the same roof. Prior to the move, these groups were in different offices. Most importantly, Mark said, they “wanted to stay in the Brookland area”.
The newly renovated space has a very sleek, modern feel to it. Mark explained that their concept “was to take this old building and breathe new life into it”. The floor plans are open, with a lot of communal spaces, and modular furniture that can quickly be moved to form collaborative or individual work spaces. There are interesting touches like funky light fixtures, while polished concrete floors and the high exposed ceilings keep some of the industrial feel of the space. One of the central spaces is a large conference room that could potentially be used for training or workshops. Mark shared that they are exploring the possibility of hosting “Artomatic Saturday Seminars” and other community activities. Another great perk for the Menkiti team was a super-nice shower area. Overall, I was very impressed, definitely the nicest office space I have seen in the area.
The Menkiti headquarters building has quite a bit of history behind it. Built in the 1950’s, at different times it housed the Newman Bookstore, O’Donnell Construction, the CUA data center and most recently, Yazge printing. When they took over the space it was full of equipment, including a Heidelberg press from 1920s. In addition to their headquarters, Menkiti also owns the building next door which houses longtime business Excel Pilates Studios, which they also renovated recently. Still, there are some areas in both buildings that are very much under construction, including two 8000 square foot commercial properties. Although there are some tenants interested, Mark couldn’t share much beyond that. There is still a lot of work to be done, such as façade improvements, but they are obviously off to a great start. Congrats to this local team on their continued success!