7 Hanover Square
7 Hanover Square (NYLJ/Monika Kozak)

To meet an increasing need for legal services to the poor, New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) has expanded the size of its headquarters at 7 Hanover Square, between Pearl and Water streets.

NYLAG has signed a sublease with CGI Group Inc., an international technology company, for 22,121 square feet, a large portion of the seventh floor. The nonprofit currently subleases 36,223 square feet, the entire 18th floor, from Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. The subleases expire 2019.

“Our growth is directly tied to the enormous need for free civil legal services,” said Yisroel Schulman, president and attorney-in-charge at NYLAG. The organization has added programs and projects that “address unmet legal needs among poor and low-income New Yorkers.”

Public records show the owner of 7 Hanover Square, a 26-story office building with about 881,000 square feet, as Seven Hanover Associates LLC, an affiliate of Milstein Properties Corp.

Caryn Stafford, an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, represented NYLAG on a pro bono basis.

Charles Salfeld, a partner at Morrison Cohen, represented CGI.

The terms of the sublease were undisclosed but the rate for the group’s existing space was reportedly in the low $30s per square foot. The asking rate for a class-A downtown office building in the area of Hanover Square is about $57 per square foot, according to Studley’s February report.

A downtown location with convenience to courts, to partner agencies and to transportation, was an important consideration for staff members, Schulman said. Another appeal is that the building is “well-managed and maintained.”

Schulman said that the expansion is “across all practice units.” A storm response unit was added after Superstorm Sandy hit on Oct. 27, 2012. The organization, which has been at 7 Hanover Square since 2011, was itself displaced.

“We could never have responded as quickly or as effectively to Sandy without the extraordinary support of the legal community of New York,” said Schulman.

Eleven law firms, including Weil Gotshal, and the UJA-Federation of New York provided temporary accommodations to NYLAG, which returned to Hanover Square on Jan. 9, 2013 (NYLJ, Jan. 22, 2013).

NYLAG was formed in 1990 and has several dozen community satellite locations in New York City and Long Island.

Earlier this year, NYLAG announced that it will be an on-site provider for Manhattan Family Justice Centers which will open locations in all five boroughs. Centers have been opened in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens.

The centers bring together city agencies and community service organizations to offer comprehensive, multilingual services to victims of domestic violence and their children, as well as victims of elder abuse, human trafficking, and child abuse.

Gere Ricker, executive vice president and managing director at MB Real Estate, handled the expansion for NYLAG.

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC) is expanding its operations at The Feil Organization’s Queens Atrium at 30-30 Thomson Ave., Long Island City.

The agency has increased its space by 23,000 square feet, amassing 233,000 square feet across several floors. The six-story, class-B property, located between 30th and 31st streets at 47th Avenue, spans 606,052 square feet and includes a penthouse.

The atrium, known as property of Celtic Holdings LLC, also contains 30-20 Thomson Ave., an eight-story, with more than 450,000 square feet property, according to Feil’s website.

“Dealing with the unique demands of a governmental agency can always be challenging,” Randall Briskin, Feil’s vice president of leasing, said in a statement. “This deal was long and arduous, but all parties rose to the occasion in the spirit of insuring that our existing relationship as landlord to the agency could be continued for the next 15 years.”

Feil was represented by in-house legal counsel Brian Palumbo and Michele Frankel.

Caroline Silk, a senior counsel with the New York City Law Department, and a team from the agency handled the negotiations of the lease for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Including the agency’s expansion, 30-30 Thomson Ave. is fully leased. The average asking rate in Long Island City is about $37 per square, according to CBRE’s fourth-quarter 2013 report. The rate does not reflect the terms of the lease.

Queens Atrium has ample floor plates, conference facilities and a showroom. In addition to easy access to several subway lines, the building provides bus transport to several destinations, including the Long Island Railroad’s Hunterspoint Avenue station.

“The area is rapidly changing with residential construction,” Briskin said. Additionally, there has been a migration of ‘back office users’ looking to mitigate the rising occupancy costs of Manhattan.” Briskin and a team handled the lease for Feil.

NYCDDC leads the city in capital construction and renovations projects in all five boroughs, including firehouses, police precincts, libraries, courthouses, roadways and sewers. It partners with other city agencies to manage a portfolio which is valued at nearly $10 billion, according to the agency’s website

Queens Atrium, originally constructed as an industrial property in 1922, was once the site of The American Chicle Company (cq) factory.

Feil owns and operates a portfolio of more than 26 million square feet of retail and commercial space and more than 5,000 residential units. In addition to Manhattan and Long Island, Feil has regional offices in Chicago, New Orleans, and St. Petersburg, Fla.

A team from CBRE acted on behalf of the city: Rachna Desai-Jain, senior project manager; Douglas Holowink, senior vice president; Michael Lee, senior associate; John Morrill, vice president; John Reinertsen, senior vice president; Keith Thompson, senior project manager; and Sean Wilson, specialist, transaction.