The Martin Agency is looking to take its downtown headquarters to new heights.
The Richmond ad giant is planning a rooftop addition to the 26-year-old building it leases from Highwoods Properties at 106 Shockoe Slip.
Plans call for a 3,000-square-foot space that would be stacked atop the bridge-like structure connecting the two main buildings that makeup Martin’s HQ complex. The addition would include an enclosed flex space for hosting meetings, client pitches, private events and yoga classes, according to the plans.
The partly covered rooftop space would overlook the Shockoe Slip circle in front of the buildings, while the enclosed space would feature southward views toward the river. The addition would reach 57 feet in height, exceeding the buildings’ current highest points.
The project would also involve a 4,000-square-foot interior uplift of the third-floor bridge space just below the rooftop. The renovation would include individual offices, a conference room and support space.
The plans were submitted to the city earlier this month and received Commission of Architectural Review approval last week. Further approvals would involve associated permits and final color scheme and exterior light fixture details.
Martin is working on the project with local design firm 3North, which has collaborated with the agency on previous renovations that updated interior workspaces and common areas. Permits on file with the city show the agency has spent more than $3.5 million on interior renovations since 2017, often working with Richmond contractor Kjellstrom and Lee.
The plans submitted to the city do not list a contractor or project cost. A timeline for construction is not specified.
Built for Martin in 1996, the 181,000-square-foot complex is owned and managed by Highwoods. The agency, which fills about 118,000 square feet of the complex that also includes a parking deck, is about six years into a 15-year lease for its space, said Jane DuFrane, market lead for Highwoods’ Richmond division.
DuFrane said the addition is being driven by Martin, which came up with the general concept. Representatives with the agency could not be reached for comment before deadline last week.
“We are always encouraging our clients to explore their creative culture, and we are supportive of this,” DuFrane said Thursday. “They came to us and said, ‘We want to do this,’ so they hired 3North to look into it.”
3North’s Daniel Strait is designing the project. He declined to comment without permission from Martin.
A narrative included with 3North’s plans describe the rooftop addition as a complement to the agency’s existing space.
“This project gives The Martin Agency another direct tie to the neighborhood and a final stopping point on their guest tour path, which starts on the Shockoe Slip terrace, moves through the lobby and interior spaces, and now will return to the neighborhood with a rooftop view of the surrounding area,” the plans state.
Highwoods had listed the building for sale last year, but decided to not go forward with a sale, DuFrane said.
“We had sold some properties to fund an acquisition, and then this didn’t materialize, which is fine with me. We love having that building, and we love The Martin Agency.”
The addition isn’t the first Martin has planned for its Shockoe Slip homebase. In 2014, Highwoods secured a city approval that set the stage for a planned $15 million expansion that would have added 45,000 square feet of space across Canal Street on the south side of the building. That project never went forward.
According to its website, Martin currently employs more than 400 people, up from 325 in 2020. The agency was named Adweek’s U.S. Agency of the Year the past two years, reporting 15 percent growth in net new and organic revenue in 2021.