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NEW YORK CITY-Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft LLP will remain in Lower Manhattan. The firm has signed a 20-year lease for 450,000 sf of space at 1 World Financial Center. The financial terms of the lease were not released, but space in the building currently goes for $35 to $40 per sf.

Robert O. Link, Jr., Cadwalader’s chairman, says, “It was logical to stay where the action is, has been and will continue to be for years to come.” Link said the decision came after a long and thought-out process and that the firm evaluated space in many areas both inside and out of Manhattan.

“It is not just an extraordinary building to look at, but it has all of the features we need as a growing law firm–access to state-of-the-art technology, the ability to customize a work environment tailored to the needs of a 21st century law firm and easy accessibility to and for our clients,” Link says. “Our intention is to grow to 750 lawyers – a goal that can comfortably be accommodated in One World Financial Center.”

The firm’s current headquarters at 100 Maiden Lane, which it owns, have been on the market since the early summer. The firm reportedly paid $20 million for the 24-story, 325,000 sf site in 1984 and needs more space. Noble Carpenter, Mark Marasciullo and Jay Miele are the Jones Lang LaSalle team handling the sale.

One World Financial is owned and managed by Brookfield Properties Corp. The Cadwalader firm is being represented in the lease negotiation by Studley. The Studley team is comprised of CEO Mitchell Steir, president Michael Colacino, and executive managing directors Matthew Barlow and David Goldstein. Lehman space in the building was represented by CB Richard Ellis by chairman, Tri-state region Robert Alexander, Michael Geoghegan, Bradley Gerla and Bruce Surry.

“We’re delighted,” Brookfield president and CEO Ric Clark tells GlobeSt.com, adding that all the arrangements have yet to be finalized. He expects that to happen in a month or two. “We’re honored to have them with a 20-year commitment.”

Cadwalader’s move is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2005 with a total cost anticipated to approach approximately $75 million including renovation on fourteen floors in the building. There is also the potential to add another 250,000 sf of space. The firm will be moving 800 legal and administrative staff members into the space.

The firm also received assistance from the Job Creation and Retention Grant Program, a federally funded program administered by the state and city. Cadwalader will receive a JCRP grant of $5.3 million to keep its 757 full-time equivalent employees in the city, along with discounted energy worth up to $1 million over 15 years. Also, the firm is eligible to receive another $3.4 million to add up to 400 additional jobs over the next five years.

“This is an important moment in the recovery of Lower Manhattan and represents one of the largest leases downtown since the tragedy of September 11th,” comments New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Cadwalader’s determination to stay in Lower Manhattan sends a strong signal to the entire New York City business community that downtown’s recovery is well underway.”

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