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NEW YORK CITY-Equity Office Properties has three leases in the works that will bring 1540 Broadway to 82% occupancy. These leases will be the first the company has signed at the former Bertelsmann building, which Equity Office bought in July, as reported by GlobeSt.com. The 44 floor building is located in Times Square at the intersection of 44 Street and Broadway.

At the time of purchase the building was 100% occupied, but part of the deal was for Bertelsmann to move out of the building and for all signage of the company to be removed so that Equity Office could reposition it as a class A office building instead of a media building, says Michael Berman, vice president-leasing for Equity Office’s New York region. When Bertelsmann moved out 260,000 sf became available in the 1.1 million sf building.

Two law firms have signed 10-year leases for space and a third lease should be signed in about a week, Berman says. Hodgson Russ LLP plans to take 27,303 sf on the entire 24 floor. Whatley Drake & Kallas has agreed to 18,380 sf, the entire 37 floor. Berman could not disclose information on the third lease or the company that plans to take the space as the deal has yet to be signed.

Hodgson will move employees from its current location at 230 Park Ave., according to Daniel Horowitz, executive managing director for Studley. Horowitz handled the transaction for the firm. “They have an expanded new York operation and they were looking for space in a state of the art building in the mold of a 21 century iconic building while still being centrally located,” Horowitz says.

Whatley, an Alabama based law firm, had no space in the New York market and was looking to open its first offices in the city, according to Erik Schmall, corporate managing director for Studley. Schmall and associate Scott Weiss handled the transaction ob behalf of Whatley. “They wanted built space; something that gives the prestige factors that they thought was appropriate to who they were in the market place,” Schmall says.

The lease rates were not disclosed for either deal, but Schmall says the average $87.50 asking rate was not far off the mark for Whatley. While Horowitz says “The economics of the deal made sense for both landlord and tenant.”

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