WHITE PLAINS, NY-Cerussi & Spring PC, a noted litigation law firm, has signed a lease expansion and renewal transaction for 18,330 sf of space at the Gateway Building at 1 North Lexington Ave. here. Howard Greenberg, principal of Howard Properties of White Plains, says the transaction is the second largest office lease in downtown White Plains in 2003.

The 10-year lease renewal agreement increases Cerussi & Spring’s presence at the property and makes it one the one of the largest tenants in the 530,000-sf building. Greenberg was the exclusive tenant representative for Cerussi & Spring. William Cuddy of CB Richard Ellis represented building owner, the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Greenberg notes that the transaction represents the law firm’s second major expansion at the building since it first took occupancy of 5,000 sf in 1988. Cerussi & Spring expanded its operations to 15,304 sf at the building in 1993.

Commenting on the deal, Greenberg says, “Cerussi & Spring’s White Plains address and the prestige of a major office tower were an important part of the attraction of the Gateway Building. The building’s access to nearby state, county and federal courthouse facilities in White Plains was also important.” He adds that due to Gateway’s location adjacent to the White Plains railroad station, Cerussi’s attorneys also have easy access to the federal courts in Manhattan at Foley Square.

Michael A. Cerussi Jr., a founding partner of Cerussi & Spring, says that his firm is growing and required additional space. The firm, which specializes in corporate defense litigation focusing on products liability, chemical/toxic torts and mass tort defense, had looked at other properties in downtown White Plains before deciding to expand at the Gateway building.

“I started this firm in 1985 with four lawyers and we have grown to 31 lawyers” he says. The new lease will allow his firm to hire five additional attorneys and three new paralegals. “We did our due diligence, and ultimately determined that the image, location, and services offered by the Gateway Building continued to compare most favorably to other buildings in White Plains,” Cerussi notes.

Downtown White Plains has become a mecca for law firms. Greenberg relates that Bleakley Platt & Schmidt recently renewed its lease at the Gateway Building and a number of major New York City firms have set up operations in downtown White Plains of late as well.

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