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COSTA MESA, CA-The Los Angeles-based law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton has signed a 12-year, $25-million renewal and expansion of the law firm’s lease with the owners of Center Tower in the Offices of South Coast Plaza. The agreement includes a commitment by the law firm to expand its premises to more than 55,000 sf from its former 45,000 sf.John Simon, Sheppard’s real estate partner responsible for negotiating the transaction, notes that Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton was looking for “sufficient space to accommodate our firm’s long-term expansion plans in Orange County.” He says that the law firm has maintained its offices in Center Tower for the past seven years and wanted to remain in the building because “the value of this location will continue to increase over time.” Royce Sharf of Studley represented Sheppard, Mullin during the negotiations and John Barganski, marketing director for the Offices of South Coast Plaza represented the owner, Center Tower Associates LLC. The law firm’s commitment raises the occupancy in Center Tower to more than 92%. The granite-clad, 21-story, 462,000-sf building opened in 1985 and was developed, is owned, leased and managed by partnerships affiliated with CJ Segerstrom & Sons. Center Tower is located immediately adjacent to the Orange County Performing Arts Center and is across the street from the new Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall that will open in 2006. The lease extension with Sheppard, Mullin was the largest of several significant transactions totaling more than 230,000 sf that have been finalized within the Offices of South Coast Plaza development over the last several months. Barganski comments that leasing activity this year has been strong enough that the property owner plans to raise rents on all of its properties in 2005.

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