Case Study
ActionAid USA


ActionAid USA (AAUSA) is a global nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. which works with people striving to further human rights and defeat poverty for all. AAUSA had been located at 1420 K Street, NW for ten years and had outgrown the space.


West, Lane & Schlager was hired to evaluate AAUSA’s existing real estate situation and offer solutions. AAUSA also wanted to keep upfront costs at a minimum. AAUSA faced several challenges. For example, they were paying approximately $7.50/square foot over the market rate for the property. They didn’t have enough room to accommodate the current employees, not to mention their projected growth. The organization lacked a conference room that could accommodate full staff meetings. The office space also lacked natural light, open space and did not promote collaboration, and the building had an inconsistent HVAC system, constant elevator outages and poor security.


WLS engaged OTJ Architects to work with AAUSA’s senior leadership to launch a ‘space program:’ a strategic process to understand AAUSA’s current and future space requirements. AAUSA decided to incorporate a combination of private offices and open workspace in order to maintain flexibility and accommodate future growth. Even though AAUSA needed to rent a larger space, we were able to control costs so the aggregate rent increase was nominal. We structured a deal that included a larger tenant improvement allowance so AAUSA didn’t have to pay a lot out of pocket when leaving their current space. 

 WLS has been with us every step of the way, strategizing and devising solutions that have increased the size and quality of our office space without compromising on cost. WLS negotiated a creative deal that allowed us to eliminate any out-of-pocket costs for our buildout, while also accomplishing all of our project goals within our defined budget. 

Richard Payling-Wright, Director of Finance, ActionAid USA


WLS helped AAUSA accomplish their goals by expanding and designing their space to exactly what fit their needs, all while controlling costs and remaining efficient. WLS identified a new space for AAUSA with better design and flow which included a healthy mix of open and private offices that accommodated their current and planned employee numbers. And we found a building with a variable air volume HVAC system for increased indoor environmental quality and better security with a 24-hour lobby attendant.

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