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NEW YORK CITY-Global law firm Reed Smith is moving its practice one block east, from the historic Seagram Building at 375 Park Ave. to larger quarters at 599 Lexington Ave. And though the lease is signed and sealed, delivery won’t take place until mid-2002, reflecting what one of the brokers on the deal calls “an acute shortage of pre-built law space in Manhattan.”

Reed Smith was represented in the transaction by Joe Fabrizi, and John Isaacs of Cushman Wakefield. Tim Gibson and John Powers of Insignia/ESG brokered for building owner Boston Properties. According to Gibson, starting rent for the 49,141-sf space is in the mid-$70s. Reed has a 15-year lease for the entire 28th and 29th floors of the one-million-sf tower, Gibson says.

While the lease is already final, Reed Smith won’t take possession of the space until next summer. According to Gibson, the delayed occupancy reflects a lack of attorney-ready space in the city. “What’s unique about this deal is that the space doesn’t come available for the new tenant’s possession until July of 2002,” Gibson tells GlobeSt.com. “Even in a slow market there is a significant lack of pre-built law-firm space in Manhattan.” He says the Reed Smith deal reflects the beginning of a trend among New York City law firms toward “signing leases now for possession in the future.”

The two-floor space is currently occupied by major international legal concerns Baker Botts and Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue. According to Gibson, the two firms’ leases are scheduled to roll over next year at roughly the same time. Because there is no build out needed, Reed Smith hopes to occupy the space as soon as the lease kicks in. The firm, which Gibson says is in “rapid expansion” mode, will sublet its current space in the Mies van der Rohe-designed Seagram Building, when it moves into the larger Lexington Avenue offices.

Built in 1986 by Boston Properties from an Edward Larrabee Barnes design, 599 Lexington Ave. is a 50-story, 653-foot-high Class A multi-tenant office building with a 50-foot-tall lobby. It’s situated on a one-acre site with 13,445 sf of ground-floor retail space facing Lexington Avenue and 52nd and 53rd Streets. Notable for its large plaza, which features a glass-enclosed subway entrance and striking angular setbacks, the building is considered an unofficial expansion of its neighbor to the north, the Citicorp Center.

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