Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cozen O’Connor firm eying jump to Reed Smith’s ‘Place’

by Natalie Kostelni
"Cozen O’Connor has zeroed in on One Liberty Place as its top spot to relocate its Center City law offices.

The firm is reportedly seeking to secure space that will eventually be vacated by law firm Reed Smith, according to people familiar with the situation. If Cozen signs a lease at One Liberty, it would finally put to an end what has become a bit of a saga in the local commercial real estate scene.

A Cozen move has other implications. It would close a big gap at One Liberty but create a huge hole in the Stock Exchange building, a 456,922-square-foot property at 1900 Market St. Cozen also declined comment.

Cozen had been seriously looking at Three Logan Square. In the meantime, space in Center City’s trophy towers has gotten tighter.

Reed Smith late last year decided to move its Center City offices to Three Logan after spending more than 20 years at One Liberty. It signed a long-term lease on 115,000 square feet at the building at 1717 Arch St. and will move in early 2014.

The Reed Smith deal meant that One Liberty, a 58-story skyscraper at 1650 Market St., would have a 150,000-square-foot vacant hole on floors 23 through 28 and a portion of the 22nd — creating an opportunity for Cozen to swoop in and try to get the space.

The timing would work.

Cozen won an arbitration to stay in the Stock Exchange building for another five years, which began running in January 2011 and expires at the end of 2015. It is reportedly paying rents in the high teens at the Stock Exchange. Cozen was the first tenant in the building back in 1981.

The office property already has about 100,000 square feet of contiguous space available on the 7th and 8th floors. A Cozen move would practically empty out the building and position it for larger tenants, a major renovation, or even for a different use. It was last renovated 16 years ago, making it a tad tired compared with some other office buildings in town."
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