Legal Proceedings Impact Atlanta Office Market

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor Two of Atlanta’s biggest law firms have made major–and very different–decisions concerning their office space. While McKenna Long & Aldridge decided to continue occupying the 11 floors of the Sun Trust Plaza it’s been taking up [...]

Two of Atlanta’s biggest law firms have made major–and very different–decisions concerning their office space. While McKenna Long & Aldridge decided to continue occupying the 11 floors of the Sun Trust Plaza it’s been taking up since 1993, Morris Manning & Martin has opted to relocate from its 25-year home, Buckhead’s Atlanta Financial Center.

The Sun Trust Plaza, Atlanta’s second-tallest office tower, signed McKenna Long & Aldridge for another 15 years, despite the variety of new office towers the law firm had to choose from. McKenna Long is large enough to have its lease start off a brand-new building, but its commitment to Atlanta’s central business district and to the John Portman Jr.-designed building prevailed.

Morris Manning & Martin, on the other hand, while considering whether or not to renew its lease at the Atlanta Financial Center, toured buildings in Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead. But after it received an offer of a highly visible location in the landmark Campanile building at Peachtree and 14th Street, it opted for the move. The 20-story Campanile tower was built in 1987 as headquarters for BellSouth and was left nearly vacant after the company’s 2007 merger with AT&T. Developer John Dewberry bought the building out of distress last year for $36 million.

The law firm’s nearly 300 employees will populate the top six floors of the Campanile building starting next summer, after it undergoes renovations. With a current occupancy rate of 30 percent (which will double when the law firm moves in), the Campanile has as its largest tenant Georgia’s own credit union.