Fictional corporate lawyer Miranda Hobbs turned her nose up at Brooklyn in the HBO television series "Sex and the City." But today Brooklyn real estate is so hot that Weil, Gotshal & Manges -- ranked 10th in this year's Am Law 100 report -- is opening a Kings County office.
Weil Gotshal is relocating staff members from its finance, operations, and IT departments into 35,000 square feet of new space at 15 MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn. Weil Gotshal real estate co-head Philip Rosen says the move across the East River, which is scheduled for August, is the first for a major firm.
"With the firm constantly growing, we were looking for a way to maximize real estate efficiencies in today's market," says Rosen, who spearheaded Weil Gotshal's search for more space. "We looked at the economic renaissance going on in downtown Brooklyn and conducted [an in-house] study that looked at commuting advantages for certain employees."
Rosen emphasizes that Weil Gotshal's current Manhattan lease on 500,000 square feet of space in The General Motors Building isn't set to expire until 2019, and the firm has no plans to leave that location. But MetroTech's proximity -- "It's only three or four subway stops away," Rosen says -- convinced the firm to sign a 12-year lease.
While declining to divulge the price the firm pays for its Manhattan office, Rosen says rates in the GM Building run about $120 per square foot, while comparable space in Brooklyn costs between $35 and $45.
Asked if the move has anything to do with the proposed Atlantic Yards development project, Rosen says Weil has "not yet" been retained on the downtown Brooklyn venture.
And while there are not yet plans to migrate lawyers to MetroTech -- a stone's throw from the federal and state courts that ring Cadman Plaza -- Rosen says not to "rule that out as a future possibility."
Note: American Lawyer Media, parent of The American Lawyer and AmericanLawyer.com, will also be moving several corporate departments to MetroTech later this year.