Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lewis Rice to Remain Downtown

Lewis Rice & Fingersh, which currently leases 110,000 sf at 500 N. Broadway, may not know exactly where it will hang its hat, but it has made it known that it will remain downtown. According to the Business Journal:

Tom Erb, a member of Lewis Rice's management committee who is leading the search efforts, said the firm is looking only at downtown choices. Erb said downtown's revitalization is playing a big role in the firm's decision to stay. Erb said he expects the firm will make its choice within the next few weeks. "We've been downtown for 99 years, and next year, it will be 100 years," he said.

The firm has been rumored to be looking into renewing its lease at 500 N. Broadway in addition to considering a move to other buildings, such as the General American Building. Wherever the firm ends up, it's great to see them make a commitment to downtown!


JMedwick said...

Great news on many accounts, not the least of which is the clear pride and support of downtown shown by Mr. Erb.

What is the 500 N. Broadway building like? Is that the one with lots of empty space (and asbestos problems)?

Given the choices, I think that moving staying in the 500 building might be the best from a macro perspective, particularly if it would be difficult for that building to lease out the space if Rice left.

But then again, if they left, maybe a wholesale rehabilitation of the building could occur, making it more competitive in the long-run.

Brian said...

I guess a good way to describe 500 N. Broadway is as class B+ space. It's a little nicer than most class B buildings, but doesn't compete with class A buildings like Met Square or the Deloitte Building. The building received a lobby renovation about 10 years ago, and the common areas are pretty nice. For Lewis Rice it works out pretty well - their rates are (presumably) about the same as other large firms like Thompson Coburn, Bryan Cave, Husch, etc., but their overhead is significantly reduced by their sweetheart lease.

You're right about it having a lot of vacant space and unremediated asbestos issues. I think for a while Lewis Rice was the only firm there, but there's now another (smaller) law firm, Daedelus Capital and an RBC Dain Rauscher office there. Lord & Taylor also recently leased space in the building. Stifel Nicolaus used to occupy several floors there before moving to One Financial Plaza across the street. I've heard that the building owners will remove the asbestos from the vacant floors if/when tenants sign on to lease the space.