Space-Cutting For Arnstein & Lehr Described

A law office’s prepared move to a 50-story Loop firm tower continues an industry pattern of minimized workplace 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 leases about 100,000 square feet at 120 S. Riverside Plaza in the West Loop, the firm’s home since 1990, Gesas stated.

The majority of the area Arnstein is taking at 161 N. Clark will be subleased from Polsinelli. That law office plans to relocate February to a 53-story office tower in the late phases of construction at 150 N. Riverside Plaza along the Chicago River.

Arnstein & Lehr is following a law industry pattern of cutting expenses by minimizing property. Numerous companies are moving toward smaller sized individual firms and eliminating libraries and records that can now be stored digitally.

” We decided to make the relocation due to the fact that we’re in area that, for the functions of our company, is antiquated,” Gesas stated. “The plus is we won’t have the oversized equity partner workplaces that we have here (at 120 S. Riverside).

” My office is like a castle. It’s outrageous.”

About 60,000 square feet will be subleased from Polsinelli on the 42nd, 43rd and 46th floorings. Arnstein & Lehr likewise will rent about 5,000 square feet directly from the property owner on the 13th floor for the company’s administrative offices, 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 leased, according to property information provider CoStar Group.

The Polsinelli lease that Arnstein & Lehr is assuming runs until October 2027, Gesas said.

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

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

Other firms are switching from one existing building to another to revamp their offices in less general space, such as Seyfarth Shaw’s deal to move to Willis Tower from the Citadel.

Overall downtown firm vacancy reached a 15-year low throughout the 2nd quarter, but pending moves by occupants from existing structures to brand-new building are anticipated to drive up vacancy in the next few years.

Founded in 1893, Arnstein & Lehr has about 90 legal representatives in the Chicago office and about 60 in Florida, where it has offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, Gesas said. The firm also has a small Springfield office that its Chicago attorneys use when taking a trip to the state capital.

Arnstein & Lehr plans to complete 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 area is furnished and move-in all set, Gesas said. Workplaces are 225 square feet for partners and 150 for partners.

Its current area has partner workplaces from 235 to 310 square feet and associate workplaces of 150 feet, the company stated. Regardless of the overall reduction in space, the new office includes space for new hires, Gesas stated.