Arnstein & Lehr Plans Space Cutting Move to Cut Costs

A law firm’s prepared transfer to a 50-story Loop office tower continues a market pattern of lowered firm sizes.

Arnstein & Lehr prepares to move next year to about 65,000 square feet at 161 N. Clark St., stated Managing Partner Michael Gesas. Arnstein & Lehr currently rents about 100,000 square feet at 120 S. Riverside Plaza in the West Loop, the company’s home since 1990, Gesas said.

Most of the space Arnstein is taking at 161 N. Clark will be subleased from Polsinelli. That law firm plans to move in February to a 53-story workplace tower in the late stages of building at 150 N. Riverside Plaza along the Chicago River.

Arnstein & Lehr is following a law market pattern of cutting costs by decreasing real estate. Numerous companies are moving toward smaller specific offices and removing libraries and records that can now be saved digitally.

” We decided to make the move because we’re in area that, for the purposes of our firm, is antiquated,” Gesas stated. “The plus is we will not have the extra-large equity partner offices that we have here (at 120 S. Riverside).

” My firm is like a castle. It’s ludicrous.”

About 60,000 square feet will be subleased from Polsinelli on the 42nd, 43rd and 46th floors. Arnstein & Lehr also will rent about 5,000 square feet straight from the landlord on the 13th flooring for the firm’s administrative workplaces, Gesas said.

161 N. Clark is owned by an endeavor of CBRE Global Investors, which bought it in on behalf of a group of South Korean financiers for about $331.3 million in October 2013. The tower is about 96 percent rented, according to property information company CoStar Group.

The Polsinelli lease that Arnstein & Lehr is presuming runs up until October 2027, Gesas stated.

Arnstein & Lehr was represented in the offer by Bill Rogers, a handling director at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Polsinelli is among several companies moving their Chicago offices to smaller areas in towers now under construction. Others include McDermott Will & Emery, DLA Piper and Hinshaw & Culbertson.

Other firms are changing from one existing building to another to revamp their workplaces in less general area, such as Seyfarth Shaw’s deal to relocate to Willis Tower from the Citadel Center.

Overall downtown office vacancy reached a 15-year low throughout the second quarter, but pending moves by tenants from existing structures to brand-new building are expected to increase job in the next couple of years.

Founded in 1893, Arnstein & Lehr has about 90 lawyers in the Chicago firm and about 60 in Florida, where it has workplaces in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Gesas said. The firm likewise has a small Springfield workplace that its Chicago legal representatives use when traveling to the state capital.

Arnstein & Lehr plans to finish the relocation from the West Loop by next April, Gesas stated.

Aside from some small cosmetic changes such as brand-new carpet and paint, the Polsinelli space is provided and move-in ready, Gesas stated. Firms are 225 square feet for partners and 150 for associates.

Its present area has partner workplaces from 235 to 310 square feet and associate workplaces of 150 feet, the firm stated. In spite of the general reduction in space, the brand-new office includes room for brand-new hires, Gesas said.