DLA Piper Adds Space in Manhattan

The global law firm signed a 15-year, 200,000-square-foot lease extension at 1251 Avenue of the Americas, with plans to build new office space across five floors.

By Scott Baltic, Contributing Editor

1251-avenue-of-the-americas-new-york2Legal powerhouse DLA Piper LLP (US) has signed a 15-year, 200,000-square-foot lease extension at 1251 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, also known as the Exxon Building, according to a recent announcement by Mitsui Fudosan America Inc., the building’s owner.

The law firm has been a tenant there since 1996, starting with a lease of 60,000 square feet. The extension allows the firm to occupy five contiguous floors, incorporating floors 24 through 28, as well as the concourse, according to MFA. The company currently occupies 196,000 square feet across six floors (26-28, 36, 38 and 41) in the 53-story office building between West 49th and West 50th Streets, according to Commercial Observer.

DLA Piper was represented in the transaction by Moshe Sukenik and Brian Cohen of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which also represented MFA.

In its separate announcement, DLA Piper described the lease amendment as including “re-stacking and significant modifications” to the space, adding, “The firm will undertake phased renovations and new construction to be completed prior to the end of 2019.” The New York office is DLA Piper’s largest U.S. office.

“We are pleased with the opportunity to remain at 1251 Avenue of the Americas … and are looking forward to building new, state-of-the-art law firm office space to support the firm’s local and global operations, growth and development,” said Heidi Levine, co-managing partner of DLA Piper’s New York office.

“The DLA Piper deal illustrates the special position that 1251 commands in the New York office marketplace, as well as the close relationship that we build with our tenants over many years,” added Christopher Perez, senior vice president of MFA.

The 54-story, 2.4-million-square-foot building is currently 95 percent leased, according to MFA. Other tenants include McGraw Hill Financial, law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann and asset manager Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Group, the Commercial Observer reported.

Just six months ago, the building bagged a sizable new tenant when Itochu International, Japan’s second-largest general trading company, signed a 20-year lease for about 46,000 square feet on the 51st floor.

Midtown office leasing seems to have had a rush of activity at the end of last year, per a new market snapshot from CBRE. December leasing activity reportedly totaled 1.6 million square feet, or 21 percent above the five-year monthly average of 1.3 million. Leasing for the year totaled 17.8 million square feet, up 6 percent from 2014.

Availability fell 20 basis points over the previous month, but is nonetheless up 30 basis points from one year prior. Though annual net absorption was negative, it improved by 613,000 square feet in December. Finally, the average asking rent, per CBRE, rose $1.29 from the previous month and 7 percent from December 2014.