IRVINE, CA-Four law firms have signed new office leases totaling 124,214 sf that continue the expansion by professional services firms in the area surrounding the John Wayne Airport, according to CB Richard Ellis. Brokers who worked on the deals for CBRE say that the airport submarket is emerging as one of the most concentrated hubs of professional services firms in the region.

The four firms and the space they signed for included Greenberg Traurig for 38,207 sf; Pillsbury, Winthrop Shaw and Pittman for 17,773 sf; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe for 22,764 sf; and an 11,000-sf expansion by Howrey LLP, which represents the firm’s second expansion in six months for a total of 45,470 sf.

CBRE’s Kevin Bender, who represented each of the tenants in these transactions, comments that the deals “demonstrate the strength of the legal tenant base in the Orange County market.” Thanks to growth by law firms and other providers of professional services, Orange County has evolved into “one of Southern California’s major professional services hubs,” Bender says.

Greenberg Traurig’s lease is for 15-years with Los Angeles-based Maguire Properties at 3161 Michelson Dr., while Pillsbury, Winthrop Shaw and Pittman signed a seven-year renewal at Segerstrom’s Center Tower at 650 Town Center in Costa Mesa. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe inked its deal with the Irvine Co. at 4 Park Plaza in Irvine, and Howrey expanded at 4 Park Plaza in a 10-year deal, also with the Irvine Co.

Terms of the leases were not disclosed, but a recent market report listed the average asking lease rate for the 39-million-sf airport area submarket at $2.93 cents per sf per month at the end of the first quarter. Bender says that the deals were structured to “allow these law firms to operate with great flexibility both through their space and economically.”

Bender adds that “professional service firms and law firms in particular, consistently provide a high level of stability for office developers.” As a result, if deals are positioned properly, the law firms are “very highly coveted” as tenants, Bender says.

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