The typical Lawyerly Lairs post offers a voyeuristic peek inside the luxurious residence of a prominent lawyer. Today’s post, in contrast, is about an office building. But since lawyers at Cravath, Swaine & Moore pretty much live in the office, the home/office distinction doesn’t matter.
From the New York Observer:
Cravath is staying right at home in their Death Star.* The white shoe law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore has signed a 15-year renewal at the Worldwide Plaza at 825 Eighth Avenue that will cost the firm $900 million….
Bloomberg reports that Cravath will retain its nearly 600,000 square feet at a little less than $100 per square foot, a far cry from the $39 per foot it paid for a lease it signed in 1989. When Cravath moved to the Hell’s Kitchen building back in the 1980′s, it was a risk for a high-powered law firm to move that far west, even if it was in a brand-new tower. Twenty years later, with the West Side firmly established, the deal was clearly a steal, especially over the last few years.
We offer some additional observations of our own, after the jump.
* We’ve been over this before, people. The Observer has it right. Skadden hasn’t been referred to as the Death Star ever since they moved into the Conde Nast Building at Four Times Square, home to dozens of fashion models — who walk on real runways, not the Skadden support staff runway.
Here are our thoughts on this deal:
1. This has to be one of the biggest leases in history. Why not just buy the whole damn building if you’re going to lay down almost a billion bucks?
2. Rumor has it that this lease is for somewhat more space than Cravath currently occupies. Perhaps the Death Star has expansion on the brain. Watch out, Ewoks!
3. Going from $40 to $100 a square foot is quite a steep rent increase. Yes, the neighborhood has improved dramatically since ’89. But is removing some trannie hookers from Eighth Avenue really worth $60 a square?
Does anyone know whether this lease renewal will result in Cravath associates getting private offices at an earlier point in their tenure? Rumor has it that you get your own office at Cravath around the time you become a third-year associate — which seems a little late for a firm of Cravath’s stature.
God Help Us. Lawyers Plan Long-Term with $900 M. Lease [New York Observer]