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AUSTIN-Law firms seem to have been the dominant players in leasing and leaving downtown real estate for the past year. The latest move is that of a firm new to Austin, Dewey Ballantine, which has subleased 37,165 sf at Frost Bank Plaza.

Dewey Ballantine is renting the penthouse floors of the Frost building from the Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLP. Akin Gump had left the Frost building for CarrAmerica’s new 300 West Sixth building.

Dave Friedell of Sphere Consulting and Charles Dixon and Volney Campbell, both with CB Richard Ellis Inc., represented Dewey Ballantine in the lease negotiations. Representing Akin Gump were Elisabeth Juen Waltz of Montfort Consulting Group Inc. and Russell Young of Commercial Texas.

Frost Bank Plaza at 816 Congress Ave. has 433,024 sf in 20 stories. It was built in 1984 and renovated in 1994. Dewey Ballantine, based in New York City, opened its Austin office with four attorneys who had been with the Austin of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, a CA-based law firm.

Other law firms new to Austin that have leased space this year include Dallas-based McKool Smith, which took 20,000 sf at 300 West Sixth, and Gardere Wynne Sewell, also based in Dallas, which leased 7,837 sf at One American Center.

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