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LOS ANGELES-The law firm of Kirkland & Ellis has signed a lease for 90,000 square feet of office space at Brookfield Properties Corp.’s 1.4-million-square-foot Bank of America Plaza at 333 S. Hope St. on Bunker Hill. Kirkland & Ellis will occupy the full 28th through 30th floors as well as approximately 10,000 square feet of subterranean space for the firm’s data and telecommunications requirements.

The lease includes “flexible terms to accommodate our future space needs,” according to John Weissenbach, managing partner of the law firm’s Los Angeles office. He says that the flexibility was a “very important” feature of the lease.

Jerry Porter, Los Angeles-based chairman of CresaPartners who represented Kirkland & Ellis, tells GlobeSt.com that the flexible terms Weissenbach refers to include “significant expansion rights within the building for future growth.” Porter notes that the nearly simultaneous demise of the law firms Thelen LLP and Heller Ehrman LLP at BofA Plaza created “an extraordinary opportunity to save millions of dollars in capital expenditures by taking over existing improvements that were recently completed and extremely well done.”

CresaPartners has been negotiating in the market for almost three years in looking for space for Kirkland & Ellis, but “became much more patient last year as the market began to be impacted by the global economic slowdown,” Porter adds. Kirkland & Ellis is now in a Maguire Properties building at 777 S. Figueroa St. in slightly more space than the new deal. That lease expires Feb. 28, 2010, which is roughly when the law firm intends to occupy the BofA Plaza space, Porter says.

Bert Dezzutti, senior vice president at Brookfield and head of the company’s Southern California region, notes that the commitment by Kirkland & Ellis has helped Brookfield to achieve 96% occupancy at Bank of America Plaza, which he cites as a noteworthy achievement in today’s competitive market. Brookfield recently completed a major lobby renovation at Bank of America Plaza, “in an effort to attract and retain quality tenants like Kirkland,” Dezzutti says.

Brookfield was represented in-house by John Barganski and Chris Dillavou. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

The deal by Kirkland & Ellis, a 1,500-attorney law firm with six US and three international offices, is the latest in a series of new leases and renewals by law firms in the L.A. area that rank among the relatively few large office transactions being consummated lately. Recently, for example, the law firm of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger signed a 15-year, $62 million renewal for 61,806 square feet of office space at 1900 Avenue of the Stars in Century City and Seyfarth Shaw LLP signed a lease to open a new 55,000-square-foot office at the Bank of America Plaza to complement its existing office in Century City.

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