The Firms

September 17, 2009 4:17 PM

Clifford Chance's Loss is Holland & Knight's Gain

Posted by Brian Baxter

UPDATE: Sept. 22, 10:20 a.m. The New York Observer has a look at Holland & Knight's new office space.

Holland & Knight has signed a long-term sublease for 83,000 square feet of space in Manhattan being vacated by Clifford Chance, taking advantage of falling prices in the commercial real estate market

Sibling publication reports that the three floors of space at 31 W. 52nd Street had already been configured for Clifford Chance but were left empty after the firm went through associate layoffs and a partnership restructuring in recent months.

Holland & Knight partner William Honan told sibling publication the New York Law Journal the firm initially considered a short-term lease renewal at its current New York offices at 195 Broadway, where it rents 105,000 square feet. But the opportunity presented by declining rents in Manhattan was too good to pass up, Honan says.

Amid declining commercial real estate prices across the country, large firms such as Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison have been on the lookout for more than 100,000 square feet of Manhattan office space, the New York Post reports

Holland & Knight, located at 195 Broadway since 1987, is moving the entire New York office uptown to 52nd Street when its lease expires early next year. The new space has been reconfigured for its 101 attorneys and 95 staff members, plus four new hires expected to join the firm when it moves to its new location in January. (Holland & Knight hasn't been without its own recession woes, having let go of 243 employees and slashed associate salaries by an average of 7 percent.)

This summer The Wall Street Journal wrote about how rising vacancy rates and falling costs per-square-foot helped Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe land 220,000 square feet of new space in Manhattan at a steep discount. Next year the firm will move into the renovated space at the Black Rock Building, also home to Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and the headquarters of CBS.

Other firms like Loeb & Loeb and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz have also signed new leases for more space at favorable rates in Manhattan and Nashville.

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