White & Case, one of New York’s oldest law firms, has signed a long-term lease with The Rockefeller Group for 440,000 square feet at 1221 Avenue of the Americas.

The global law firm will be moving its New York City headquarters from 1155 Avenue of the Americas, a property of The Durst Organization, where it has been a tenant for more than three decades. Under a current agreement due to expire in 2016, White & Case will lease about 300,000 square feet.

In 2017, the firm will occupy nine top tower floors of the 50-story Rockefeller Group property, also known as the McGraw-Hill Building. The lease also includes some below-grade space.

“After a thorough review, we have identified a new location for our New York office which enables us to create a more modern and efficient workspace to better service our clients and to create a state of the art workplace for our employees,” David Koschik, a member of White & Case’s executive committee, said in an announcement.

Seth Saideman, a counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton, and associate Tulani Thaw represented The Rockefeller Group. The landlord was also represented in-house by Gisele de Chabert, Rockefeller Group’s associate general counsel.

Neil Rock, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, counsel Russell Wohl, and associate Vidhi Shah, represented White & Case.

That asking rate per square foot at 1221 Avenue of the Americas is reportedly in the high $70s. The building is one of the largest in Manhattan to achieve LEED-EB certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“White & Case considered many locations throughout Manhattan, and their decision to lease space at 1221 affirms the desirability of Midtown,” Edward Guiltinan, Rockefeller Group’s senior vice president and director of leasing and development, said in a statement. He added that the central location provides “many benefits and amenities” and a number of commuter options.

Founded in 1901 in New York City, White & Case has expanded its reach with 39 offices in 26 countries and about 1,900 attorneys, including more than 400 based in Manhattan. In the U.S., there are offices in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami and Silicon Valley as well as in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East/Africa.

White & Case represents the nation’s leading banks and advises emerging businesses with an expertise in handling complex legal matters across nearly every practice area. It is among the first U.S.-based firms to establish a global presence, providing counsel and representation related to cross-border business and transactions, according to its website.

Last year, Mayer Brown signed a lease at 1221 Avenue of the Americas and will be moving into the building later this year (NYLJ, Oct. 16, 2013). Other tenants include the law firms of Dentons and Allen & Overy.

For more than eight decades, The Rockefeller Group, as an owner, developer and investment manager, has been one of the leaders in the global real estate industry. Since its start, it has developed about 40 million square feet of commercial property and owns and manages a diversified portfolio of offices and industrial assets in the U.S. and Europe.

A Jones Lang LaSalle team of Kenneth Siegel, Thomas Doughty and Lisa Kiell, managing directors, acted on behalf of White & Case.

Guiltinan handled the lease in-house for The Rockefeller Group, along with John Cefaly, an executive vice chairman, brokerage, at Cushman & Wakefield, who also assisted the landlord.


Growing its real estate operations, Houston-based Transwestern will be moving its Northeast regional headquarters in New York City to 600 Lexington Ave. from 400 Park Ave. by the end of July.

The privately held brokerage group first opened a regional headquarters in Manhattan in 2011. It has been a tenant at 400 Park Ave. since February 2012, leasing 5,700 square feet.

Under a new five-year lease with SL Green Realty Corp., Transwestern has taken 8,607 square feet at the class-A, 36-story, 300,000-square-foot Lexington Avenue tower. The lease includes the entire 10th floor and access to two terraces.

“This is a great opportunity to move to a fresh, premiere space designed to meet our business objective,” Patrick Robinson, Transwestern’s Northeast president, said in a statement. “Our business is rapidly expanding,” he added, highlighting that the northeast office has grown to 61 members from nine over the last three years.

Mark Maltz, a partner at Davis & Gilbert, represented Transwestern. Maltz is also cochair of the firm’s real estate group.

Noah Shapiro, a partner at Haynes and Boone, and associate Lauren Margiano represented SL Green.

The additional space at 600 Lexington Ave. will accommodate a “growing team-member base” and “improve communications across departments” that will result in “unparalleled service for our clients,” said Robinson.

The asking range at 600 Lexington Ave. is from $65 per square foot up to about $80 per square foot, depending on the floor.

“We are delighted to welcome Transwestern,” Steven Durels, SL Green’s executive vice president and director of leasing, said in a statement. Transwestern is “highly regarded within the real estate industry,” and SL Green has worked with the group on a “number of important transactions over the past several years,” he added.

Transwestern specializes in agency leasing, property and facilities management, tenant advisory matters, capital markets, research and sustainability. It has 34 offices across the U.S. and assists clients through more than 180 offices in 40 countries as part of an alliance with Paris-based BNP Paribas Real Estate.

SL Green Realty Corp. has been in existence since 1997. As of Dec. 31, it owned interests in 93 buildings in Manhattan, a total of more than 45 million square feet, including 27.8 million square feet of commercial buildings. In addition, SL Green holds ownership interests in 32 suburban buildings in the metro New York area, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as other buildings in Southern California.

Robinson and Lindsay Ornstein, a principal at Transwestern, internally handled the lease.

Paul Glickman, a vice chairman at Jones Lang LaSalle, led a leasing team that acted on behalf of SL Green.