Equastone Inks Law Firm to New Orleans Lease, Flips Former Firm HQ

Driving a hard bargain with Equastone, law firm McGlinchey Stafford signed a 10-year lease for 68,000 square feet at the Pan-American Life Center in New Orleans–the largest office lease since Hurricane Katrina–only after Equastone agreed to buy the firm’s existing 86,000-square-foot building. Financials on either the sale or lease deals were not disclosed. Equastone, immediately flipped the former McGlinchey Stafford building to local developer Brian Gibbs via a double escrow. The building is a former warehouse that was converted into an 86,000-square-foot office building to serve the law firm. “This closing was one step in a series of transactions related to McGlinchey Stafford’s lease at the Pan-American Life Center. Equastone agreed to buy the building as a condition to McGlinchey Stafford entering into the lease,” Chad Carpenter, CEO of Equastone, told CPN. “McGlinchey Stafford is one of the leading law firms in New Orleans, and when they were looking to relocate out of their building it was a condition to get them as a tenant for us to purchase their building as part of the lease transaction,” he said. “We just wanted the lease with them as a tenant. We didn’t want the little building and hoped to sell it to someone else immediately. We found a buyer relatively quickly with Gibbs, and literally he closed on the building on the date we were supposed to close the deal. So it worked out great and we never had to buy the building.” Equastone bought the Pan-American Life Center (pictured) in December 2006. The building has 28-stories and more than 684,000-square feet of space. It houses the Pan-American Life Conference and Media Center and is connected to an InterContinental Hotel. It was 75 percent leased when Equastone purchased it. Today, it is 92 percent leased. “New Orleans is coming back. There are some of exciting public and private developments going on down there. It is going to be fantastic, unfortunately it is just taking a while,” Carpenter said. Greg Riera of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Equastone in the transaction. Equastone is private real estate investment firm whose affiliated funds currently own 59 office and flex buildings encompassing nearly 9.4 million square feet throughout the United States. New Orleans-based Brian Gibbs Development was founded in 1996 developing commercial buildings including several residential apartments in New Orleans and across the South.