Success Stories

Drinker Biddle & Reath

New York, NY
50,000 SF
Cresa Philadelphia
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Client Objectives

Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP is a national AmLaw 100 law firm headquartered in Philadelphia with 650 lawyers in 11 offices.  The firm’s New York office was at One World Trade Center until the September 11th attacks.  Drinker Biddle remained committed to downtown Manhattan following the attacks and relocated to 140 Broadway where it subleased an existing office.  Drinker Biddle’s sublease expired in late 2010 right in the midst of the worldwide banking crisis.  The New York market was hit especially hard.  This created unprecedented opportunities for tenants to leverage the market and lock in long term space strategies at significant historical discounts.  Relocation to midtown became more economically viable than ever before as the soft NYC real estate market resulted in a smaller economic differential between midtown and downtown.  In addition, Drinker Biddle wanted to implement a new, more efficient space design that provided more flexibility to recruit and compete more effectively in the changing legal landscape.  The existing space design at 140 Broadway was very inefficient and lacked flexibility.  All of these factors contributed to Drinker Biddle taking a new and very aggressive approach to re-position the firm’s New York presence for significant growth.

Cresa Team Members

Results

There was significant sensitivity within the firm surrounding a potential relocation from downtown to midtown, especially considering the events of 9-11 and Drinker Biddle’s direct experience.   Cresa understood the extreme importance of taking an open, neutral and objective approach to the evaluation.  The project’s success ultimately depended on an open dialogue and evaluation to develop consensus within the firm.  Cresa utilized our proprietary consensus building methodology that we have developed over our many years of experience with law firms.  This methodology helps our clients to anticipate, navigate and manage a process which can often be divisive.  Cresa was able to develop a framework for Drinker Biddle’s final decision which resulted in internal consensus quickly and smoothly.

In-depth financial comparison quickly revealed that if the firm desired to relocate to midtown, this was the right time.   Ongoing searches revealed many viable alternatives including 1177 Avenue of the Americas.  While the space was originally rejected by an early DBR touring team, Cresa encouraged the executive management team to re-visit the option later in the process.  Test fits indicated that the space was highly efficient (640 SF per attorney when fully occupied) without sacrificing space quality or productivity.  In addition, it quickly became understood that the location in midtown and the building and space quality would aid Drinker Biddle’s recruiting efforts and immediate growth in New York.

Highlights include: 

  • Two Termination rights after Years 5 and 7 with a limited termination penalty
  • 9 months free rent after the Landlord completed construction of the space
  • Aggressive Landlord contribution toward renovations
  • Access to backup generator power
  • Moderate security deposit required with reduction over time

Savings:
Through strategic planning and extensive negotiations, Cresa was able to save Drinker Biddle over $3,950,000.00 in overall occupancy costs.

2013 – Cresa expanded DBR on to the 38th Floor
2015 – Cresa expanded DBR on to the 37th Floor

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