Top Moments of 2023

The past twelve months have been a rollercoaster of ups and downs for all in the commercial real estate world. Despite current market challenges, it’s been a big year for Hickok Cole and we’re closing it out with a wrap-style look back at the moments we shined brightest. From project deliveries to major announcements and heartfelt reunions, we’re more committed to our goals than ever and remain excited for what the future brings. Thank you to our clients for trusting us with their visions, our partners for strengthening our designs and perspectives, and especially our team for contributing to these accomplishments and helping us live our mission in our work every day. 

In no particular order, our top moments of 2023:

1. Celebrating Mike Hickok: Founder, senior principal, and DC design leader Mike Hickok announced his plans to retire at the end of 2023. Mike’s story is our story and it’s a tremendous understatement to say he’ll be missed. In true Hickok Cole fashion, Mike remains forward-focused during this transition, sharing, “We’ve become the firm we knew we could be and the best is yet to come.”

2. Seeing Green: Greenbuild was in our hometown this year and we were proud to host THREE project tours showcasing our commitment to sustainable design, including the region’s first net zero office renovation at American Geophysical Union Headquarters, DC’s first mass timber overbuild at 80 M Street, and our LEED Gold headaquarters in the booming Union Market District. We also hosted a 30-person sustainability charrette with project partners seeking to set a new bar for high-performance development.

3. An Epic Adventure: We completed our first building on the Epic campus in Verona, Wisconsin. Inspired by stories of being shipwrecked on a deserted island, our Castaway concept combines experiential graphics, salvaged materials, and local art for a creative and productive work environment. 

4. Richmond’s New Digs: It’s hot in the South for more than one reason! Our Richmond team continued to grow, inspiring a move to a larger studio space in Scott’s Addition to support our expanding team. Thanks to all who joined us for our first RVA open house celebrating the move and an expanded local leadership team now representing our full trifecta of architecture, interiors, and creative services.

5. 2023 Promotions: We celebrated 5 promotions! Most notably, the elevation of long-time leaders Elba Morales and Jason Wright to Principal.

6. An Eye on AI: Jack Lynch had more than 15 minutes of fame thanks to his research into artificial intelligence and how it can support the design process. His work and insights were covered by publications such as Dezeen, The Architect’s Newspaper, and Fast Company.

7. Rising to the Top: We hosted our first-ever Rise intern, Odette Gonzales, over the summer and loved having her talent and energy in the office. She reflected on her experience saying, ” This internship helped me establish short-term goals regarding how to approach AXP hours and licensure, the type of firm I want to work for, and the type of work I’d like to do in the future.” The application period for our 2024 Rise Internship and Stipend ends January 12, 2024. Help spread the word!

8. Putting on The Ritz: We completed our first hotel project for our former neighbor, The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown (or Conference Room North as we used to call it). Our Lifestyle team helped the luxury hotel brand update its public and entertainment spaces, including a new Living Room, bar, and restaurant.

9. Art Night Impresses: Our 23rd annual Art Night event raised $147,365 in support of Washington Project for the Arts and the artist community thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and patrons.

10. Raleigh Dreams Realized: We broke ground on the St. Albans Lofts in Raleigh’s North Hills Innovation District (NHID) and celebrated the start of Tributary, our next project in the booming district.

11. We Have Liftoff: Our marketing team celebrated the launch of our new website (you’re on it right now!) to better showcase the people, projects, and insights that keep us moving forward. We hope you like it and take a look around!

12. Wellsmith Wows: Our first multifamily project to deliver in Richmond is making waves at both the local and national level, bringing home Best Multifamily from GRACRE, Best IDEA at IIDA/ASID’s local IDEA Awards, and earning a full spread in Interior Design Magazine‘s November issue. 

13. Home Sweet Home: Our DC headquarters made a splash in AIA’s Architect magazine, showcasing the drivers and design behind our flexible studio space. 

14. Marking 35 Years of Work That Matters: We toasted 35 years of great design and forward-focused projects this May surrounded by the clients, partners, and friends who supported us along the way. The evening highlighted works in progress in new markets and our home turf, showcasing our research and leadership in mass timber construction, medical office building design, and vertical mixed-use development. 

15. Student Housing Soars: Our first student housing tower with Pinecrest topped out in Richmond. Located blocks from VCU’s busy campus, Parc View at Commonwealth is a 15-story, 168-unit apartment tower that will deliver next spring for the university’s creative student body. 

16. Full Circle Makes a Full Comeback: Following the addition of 24 hours of paid volunteer time to our benefits package thanks to Just, our Full Circle committee came back swinging in 2023. Thanks to our new committee leadership and all our volunteers giving time to organizations like DC Central Kitchen, DCBIA, INOVA, and others near and dear to their hearts. We appreciate your time and efforts to make a difference in your communities.

17. Inclusivity in Action: We celebrated the official groundbreaking of The DC Center, a local non-profit dedicated to educating, empowering, celebrating, and connecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. A true representation of work that matters, we can’t wait to see this one deliver in 2024.

18. Climbing the Ranks: We moved up on both Washington Business Journal lists of the Largest Architecture and Interior Design firms, coming in at #15 and #14 respectively. 

19. All About O2R: We led the conversation on the industry’s hottest adaptive reuse trend, sharing our research and lessons learned with clients nationwide on what makes an aging office building a candidate for conversion to residential. And with 1313 L Street delivering in 2024, this is just the beginning of these important conversations. Stay tuned for more to come from our exploration into what’s next for all these empty spaces in the new year. 

20. Creative Growth: Our small and mighty Creative team is not so small anymore! Thanks to hard-earned repeat clients, and new wins across the country—from Chicago to Miami’s Wynwood and everywhere in between—Creative has grown to include two new designers to expand the reach of our branding, marketing, and experiential graphics work.

21. We Are Family: We welcomed over 125 Hickok Cole former and current staff back for a good old-fashioned family reunion. Hailing from Austin to Boston and everywhere in between, we partied the night away in honor of Mike’s retirement and the achievements, impact, and geographic reach of our alumni.

22. Walter Reed Transformed: We celebrated the ribbon cutting at the new and highly-anticipated Parks at Walter Reed development where we contributed to four new buildings, including lifestyle interiors for Abrams Hall and Hartley, and architecture for Kite House and a new mass timber pavilion building. 

23. Awards and Accolades: Our work was recognized with nearly 20 awards, including a Woodworks Wood Design AwardUSGBC Community Leader Awardretrofit Magazine Honorable Mention for Best, AdditionBest Sustainable Development from the Washington Business Journal, and MetropolisPlanet Positive Award for 80 M Street; Grand Winner in the 2023 Multifamily Executive Awards for The Blake Alexandria‘s marketing campaign; second place in the whole building category for Studio Theatre in retrofit‘s Metamorphosis Awards; a multifamily finalist award for Pierce at IIDA MAC’s Premier Design Awards; Best Multifamily for Wellsmith and Best Mixed-Use for The Current at the 2023 GRACRE Awards; Best Social Campaign for Art Night 2022 at SMPS’s local DC and national Marketing Communications Awards; an AIA Richmond Award of Merit for The Current; and Best Amenities for Cortland East at the Multi-Housing News Excellence Awards.

Thanks for celebrating our top moments of 2023. Happy holidays from Hickok Cole–see you next year!

Ready for a blast from the past? See how far we’ve come by checking out our Top Moments of 2022.

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