Volume 20 Issue 18 | September 14 - 20, 2007

Law firm drawn to Downtown energy & prices

Two firms recently scooped more than 150,000 square feet of space in a Hanover Square office building, continuing the resurgence of office tenants back into the Financial District.

International law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy signed a deal to lease 117,000 square feet of space at 7 Hanover Square, which the company will be calling home beginning the first quarter of 2008.

CGI Group Inc., a Canadian technology firm, also picked up 35,000 square feet in the building, where the Montreal-based I.T. management and business process services company just set up shop on Aug. 20.

The two firms inked their subleases from Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, which has its headquarters in the building between Pearl and Water Sts. The Staubach Company represented Guardian in both deals.

Fragomen partner Michael Patrick said better prices and more space Downtown made the choice to relocate from the firm’s long-held digs in Midtown an easy one.

“We’re currently on eight floors right now (at 515 Madison Ave.), which is certainly not desirable,” said Patrick, whose firm’s 350 attorneys and other staff will inhabit only three floors in Hanover Square. “It became clear to us that the Midtown area was operating with some sort of helium pricing.”

Fragomen negotiated a $40-per-square-foot renting price in the 11-year sublease, Patrick said, with the option of taking an additional third of a floor in 2009.

Patrick noted the firm’s search for space primarily focused on Midtown and Downtown, with the Financial District site subsequently at the top of Fragomen’s list.

“That part of Downtown has a different type of personality than western Downtown,” he said. “[It has a] fascinating, higher energy than any of us really thought there was,” pointing to the Stone Street Historic District.

The firm will initially occupy about 105,000 square feet of the total space, Patrick added, with about 12,000 more available at the start of 2009. “We have enormous confidence in the Downtown area,” he said.

Cushman & Wakefield represented Fragomen in the deal, and CB Richard Ellis represented CGI.

— Patrick Hedlund

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