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SAN FRANCISCO-SmithGroup has leased 35,000 sf of office space within the old US Federal Reserve Building at 301 Battery St. in the North Financial District. The architecture and engineering firm will relocate to the top two floors of the seven-story, 150,000-sf building in April 2007 from about 25,000 at 225 Bush St.

The old Federal Reserve Building was constructed in 1924 for the Federal Reserve and is included on the National Register for Historic Places. The landmark has been empty since mid-2004, when Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe left for Foundry Square. In early 2005, after deciding against an office-to-hotel conversion, Boston Properties sold the building to an affiliate of Bentley Holdings, which is controlled by Christopher and Amber Marie Bentley of Nevada.

The news of SmithGroup’s commitment comes on the heels of two other full-floor leases in the building. The investment management group Wentworth, Hauser and Violich has leased the 19,200-sf fourth floor and the State Bar Association of San Francisco has leased another floor.

Studley EVP Steve Barker, who with fellow Studley executives Jacque Ducharme and Aaron Wright represented SmithGroup in its lease negotiations, tells GlobeSt.com that a law firm is close to taking down the one remaining floor that is available and a conference room in the building will be renovated for the use of all tenants. A restaurant is being sought for ground-floor space fronting Sansome Street.

As for SmithGroup’s deal, Barker says the firm signed a 12-year lease that included free rent to offset a 1.5-year lease overhang it will have at its existing location. The negotiated lease rate was not released by the parties involved, but the full-service asking rate for the building is in the mid-$30s. The Bentleys goal is to have all tenant spaces built out according to the energy conservation standards of the US Green Building Council, Barker says.

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