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K&L Gates will become the second law firm in Pittsburgh to add its name to the top of a downtown building.

K&L Gates has signed a letter of intent to lease approximately 200,000 square feet of office space in One Oliver Plaza at 210 Sixth Ave. in downtown Pittsburgh beginning in 2010.

The 37-story, 637,000-square-foot office building will be renamed “K&L Gates Center,” replacing software firm Ariba’s naming rights. Pending municipal approvals, the firm’s name will be featured at the top of the building, according to Peter Kalis, K&L Gates’ chairman and global managing partner.

“The two overriding considerations of moving to a new location were the efficiencies that we could achieve in the floor design and the ability to leverage our brand through signage,” said Kalis. “Most importantly, we wanted to achieve a highly efficient deployment of our personnel. But we also wanted to couple that with an opportunity to leverage our brand through naming rights and signage.”

Maura McAnney, a principal at Pittsburgh-based legal recruiting firm McAnney Esposito & Kraybill Associates, is not surprised that the firm wants to be part of the city skyline and increase its branding efforts.

“Several law firms in Pittsburgh, including Reed Smith and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, have really developed international profiles and have become international businesses,” she said. “I think some other firms in Pittsburgh are mainly servicing western Pennsylvania and being part of the skyline might not be as important to them because their business focus is different.”

K&L Gates will leave its current space in the Henry W. Oliver Building where the firm has been located since its founding in 1946. Kalis said that the new location will undergo some renovation of the building lobby and common areas.

“We will occupy 15 floors within the building and internal renovation will commence in mid-2008,” Kalis said.

This work is in addition to a series of base building improvements completed to date by the building’s owners, including the replacement of elevator control systems, the parking facility and life safety systems.

K&L Gates also has plans to incorporate innovative green building principles in the building renovations and the construction of the law firm’s new offices.

Kalis said that this move signifies the firm’s commitment to the city.

“This office move reflects the recent growth of K&L Gates both domestically and internationally, and we are proud to remain a part of the rich history and promising future of the city of Pittsburgh,” he said.

The building is owned by an affiliate of Michigan-based Kojaian Management Corp.

“We are very pleased with our association with K&L Gates and very much look forward to them becoming the anchor and signature tenant at One Oliver Plaza,” said David Haboian, Kojaian’s senior vice president, in a statement.

K&L Gates will join Reed Smith as the other law firm in town to have its name prominently displayed on top of a downtown building. Reed Smith will move into their new offices in Three PNC Plaza in 2009.

“I’m very happy to see that these law firms are anchoring themselves in Pittsburgh,” said McAnney. “I think that’s an extremely positive comment on Pittsburgh and how they fit in the international legal community. Having a building here with your name on it and identifying yourself as part of the Pittsburgh skyline can only be positive for the city.”

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