The transformation of a historic Mount Washington church into the new headquarters of marketing communications agency Warschawski is now complete.
The agency recently completed the $6 million renovation with an event that included state and city officials, as well as leaders from Baltimore’s entrepreneurship community. The 20,000-square-foot space is in the former St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been vacant for several years. Warschawski believes it can help to attract and retain talent in Baltimore.
Alongside serving as the home of Warschawski, the firm is also the headquarters for W Ventures, a venture fund launched by founder David Warschawski this year that startups scale through investment, space and growth marketing services.
As the team spearheaded the renovation project, Baltimore played a big role. Warschawski wanted to serve as a model for the possibility that’s present in the city’s many old buildings.
“We believe in Baltimore and wanted to do our part to invest in Baltimore City and reclaim a beautiful old building that had deteriorated badly and turn it into a symbol of what is possible in Baltimore. You can create a visually stunning and successful home for your business in Baltimore, as we’ve done with our headquarters here,” Warschawski said in a statement. “We hope other businesses see the potential of some of Baltimore’s old buildings and invest in them, as we have, to make our neighborhoods stronger, safer and more prosperous.”
The Warschawski team worked on each detail of the renovation to create a space that was reflective of its brand, as well as “exciting, energetic, full of sunshine and natural light, collaborative, fun, vibrant and aesthetically top notch,” COO Shana Harris said.
The renovation involved preservation of the building’s past. The project included restoring artwork, including new gold leafing on one entire wall, refurbishing the original front doors and work to preserve the original wooden ceiling and lighting. Stained glass was also removed and transported to Nicaragua, where it is now shining in a newly built church.
The agency sought to combine the old and new.
“We worked very hard to preserve the history of the building and its historic look, whenever and wherever possible by marrying it with a sleek and modern look and functionality,” Harris said. “For example, we did everything possible to ensure all new HVAC, electric and plumbing was not visible anywhere in the main building by engineering all the systems to run under the floor and up through the walls. We wanted the aesthetics of the building and its beautiful, original all wood-beamed roof and its original artwork to be the focal point rather than new ductwork or cabling.”
The renovation also made room for new features as part of the headquarters. There’s now a two-story multimedia room that’s equipped for Warschawski to film videos and advertisements, as well as complete photo shoots. The brick space doubles as a meeting or event room, as well. Having in-house production capabilities is rare for an agency.
Other features include a new mezzanine section and two flying staircases, as well as a “creative clubhouse.” The renovation also included the addition of an ADA-accessible elevator, two commercial kitchens, four conference rooms, eight new bathrooms and four showers in the office. The latter will come in handy for team members that want to hike or bike on the Jones Falls Trail, which is right near the office.
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