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NEW YORK CITY-Washington, DC-based law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering has leased three floors at 399 Park Ave. and has optioned two additional floors of expansion space. The firm will initially occupy 72,000 sf at the property and the extra floors would nearly double that figure.

Executive vice president and co-branch manager Ira Schuman of Julien J. Studley Inc.’s Midtown office, senior executive vice president and branch manager Stephen B. Goldstein and senior managing director David Lipson of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office represented the law firm. Building owner Citibank N.A. represented itself in the transaction. While details of the lease have not been released, published reports place asking rents at the 1.5 million-sf property at roughly $85 per sf.

The new space was on the market as a sublet by law firm Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker, which was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle. But Citibank opted to recapture the space and execute a direct lease through Studley. The option on two additional floors, totaling roughly 50,000 sf, reportedly kicks in some time in 2005.

The space Wilmer Cutler rented was originally on the market as a short-term sublet offered by another law firm, Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker, says Frank Doyle, a managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., who was handling that assignment. But Citibank opted to recapture the space and execute a direct lease with Wilmer Cutler.

This is the second growth-related relocation for Wilmer Cutler in two years. The firm is currently occupying space at 520 Madison Ave. “The new offices at 399 Park Ave. meet all of the law firm’s goals and ensure it will not again have to move for many years,” says Studley’s Schuman.

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