Space-Cutting For Arnstein & Lehr Described

A law firm’s planned transfer to a 50-story Loop workplace tower continues a market trend of minimized firm sizes.

Arnstein & Lehr plans to move next year to about 65,000 square feet at 161 N. Clark St., said 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 house since 1990, Gesas stated.

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

Arnstein & Lehr is following a law industry pattern of cutting expenses by decreasing real estate. Lots of firms are approaching smaller specific workplaces and getting rid of libraries and records that can now be saved electronically.

” We decided to make the move due to the fact that we’re in space that, for the purposes of our company, is old-fashioned,” Gesas stated. “The plus is we will not have the large equity partner firms that we have here (at 120 S. Riverside).

” My office 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 directly from the property manager on the 13th floor for the company’s management firms, Gesas stated.

161 N. Clark is owned by a venture of CBRE Global Investors, which bought it in on behalf of a group of South Korean investors for about $331.3 million in October 2013. The tower is about 96 percent rented, according to realty data provider CoStar Group.

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

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

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

Other companies are changing from one existing structure to another to upgrade their workplaces in less overall space, such as Seyfarth Shaw’s offer to transfer to Willis Tower from the Castle Center.

General downtown office openings reached a 15-year low throughout the second quarter, but pending moves by tenants from existing structures to brand-new building and construction are expected to drive up vacancy in the next couple of years.

Founded in 1893, Arnstein & Lehr has about 90 attorneys in the Chicago office and about 60 in Florida, where it has workplaces in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Gesas stated. The company also has a small Springfield workplace that its Chicago legal representatives utilize when traveling to the state capital.

Arnstein & Lehr prepares to complete the relocation from the West Loop by next April, Gesas said.

Aside from some minor cosmetic modifications such as brand-new carpet and paint, the Polsinelli space is provided and move-in prepared, Gesas stated. Offices are 225 square feet for partners and 150 for associates.

Its current area has partner firms from 235 to 310 square feet and associate workplaces of 150 feet, the firm said. Despite the overall decline in space, the new workplace consists of space for brand-new hires, Gesas said.