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Media Coverage


11 March 2015
New York Law Journal

The law firm of Mayer Brown has relocated its New York City offices to 1221 Avenue of the Americas in Rockefeller Center, after nearly 20 years at 1675 Broadway.

Under a 15-year lease with The Rockefeller Group, the Chicago-based law firm occupies 187,000 square feet—the 11th through 14th floors—of the 50-story, more than 2.5 million square foot class-A tower between West 48th and 49th streets.

Mayer Brown recently said that the new Manhattan office will serve as "the hub of the firm—the meeting ground between Chicago and our international locations."

"We plan to continue vigorous growth in New York," said Richard Spehr, partner-in-charge of the New York office.

The firm has significantly expanded its presence in New York City since the office launched in 1978. After the Chicago office, which was founded in 1881, New York ranks as the firm's second-largest U.S. office, with more than 200 attorneys. The move to 1221 Avenue of the Americas "further solidifies the firm's longterm commitment to the city and its clients," Spehr added.

Mayer Brown was represented on the lease in-house by partners Michael Morelli and Nathan Sevilla. In addition, Gerald Uram, a partner at Davis & Gilbert and chair of the firm's real estate group, was Mayer Brown's outside counsel.

The landlord was represented in-house by Gisele de Chabert, associate general counsel, The Rockefeller Group Development Corporation. In addition, Seth Saideman, counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton, and associate Antonella Pomara were outside counsel. Since the lease was signed, Saideman has joined Palantine Capital Partners as general counsel and Pomara has joined BlackRock Inc. as vice president, legal and compliance.

Mayer Brown's relocation went smoothly, Spehr said.

"We brought groups of lawyers over in the weeks before the move so that they felt reasonably comfortable on the first day," he said. "Then we invited them in the day before we formally opened to get their phones and computers up and running."

Edward Guiltinan, senior vice president for The Rockefeller Group Development Corporation and head of leasing, said in a statement that Mayer Brown "has an excellent reputation and is an ideal tenant."

As one of Rockefeller Center's largest and most prominent office towers, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, also known as the McGraw-Hill Building, was developed in the center's expansion to the west side of Sixth Avenue.

The tower is undergoing a major capital improvement program that is expected to be completed at the end of the year. Enhancements include a renovated lobby, elevators, entrances and side-street plazas, according to The Rockefeller Group's website. The building has advanced energy and technology systems, and has LEED-EB and platinum-level Wired certifications.

The asking rental rate for class-A office space in the Rockefeller Center area is about $86 per square foot, according to Cushman & Wakefield's 2014 fourth quarter market snapshot report.

Spehr called the new offices "a beautiful space in every sense." He added, "While we were of course mindful of cost, we did it within budget."

The first-class conference space—which Spehr said is "second to none"—emphasizes the firm's focus on offering clients "top-flight international capability," he said. Other features include contemporary attorney offices with clear-glass fronts; several small conference rooms on each floor; and a multipurpose reception area with functional space.

The law firms of Dentons and Allen & Overy are also tenants at 1221 Avenue of the Americas. White & Case expects to move to the building in 2017, leasing 440,000 square feet (NYLJ, April 23, 2014). The Rockefeller Group has been recognized among the leading real estate groups for more than eight decades.

Robert Flippin and Andrew Sussman, executive vice presidents at CBRE Group Inc., along with Anthony Dattoma, senior vice president, and Lauren Crowley Corrinet, vice president, handled the lease for the tenant.

For the landlord, Rockefeller Group's Guiltinan led an in-house team, along with Cushman & Wakefield's John Cefaly, executive vice chairman, who led an outside team.

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    Richard A. Spehr
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