Fried Frank commits to Lower Manhattan with 15-year renewal at One New York Plaza

New York firm maintains footprint in largest financial district deal since Covid-19 as city tentatively reopens

New York law firm Fried Frank has signed a long-term lease renewal for its headquarters at One New York Plaza, in what is being described as the largest office lease deal in Lower Manhattan since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The firm has committed to a 15-year lease extension for its space in the 50-story building, which currently houses around 300 attorneys. It has occupied the 400,000-square-foot office since 1979, and has had a presence in Lower Manhattan's financial business district since its legacy firms were founded in the late 1890s. 

By inking the lease extension, Fried Frank signalled its confidence in the city’s financial district, which has struggled since the pandemic transformed it into a ghost town last March. As New York begins to re-open, the firm will be among those ready to return to business as usual from its new space. 

The firm has been welcoming lawyers back into its office on a 'purely voluntary' basis, but will begin the second phase of its formal return-to-work plan on 13 September, when lawyers will be exptected to spend one to two days of the working week in the office. 

"We continue to closely monitor the evolution of the virus, the science and data and the advice of experts, including those with whom we consult, and will adjust our plans if circumstances dictate we do so," a spokesperson for the firm said regarding its return to work strategy. 

The office, managed by Brookfield Properties, features a recently renovated fitness center and retail concourse as well as a newly designed lobby, the firm said. Significantly, Fried Frank has extended the lease for its existing footprint, however it said it had the flexibility during the term to reduce or expand as needed. It is working with architecture firm Gensler to modernise some of its features, updating its look and feel.

Callie Haines, executive vice president and head of the New York and Boston regions for Brookfield, said the firm’s commitment was “an unmistakable sign of New York City’s recovery and resurgence”. 

“Brookfield is committed to the success of New York City and Lower Manhattan, and we are thrilled that Fried Frank will continue to make the neighborhood its home,” she said.

Fried Frank’s New York office focuses on antitrust and competition, asset management, restructuring and insolvency, capital markets, commercial litigation, private equity, and white-collar criminal defense and securities enforcement, among other practice areas. 

The firm has operated a second US location in Washington DC since 1949 and has two international bases in London and Frankfurt, established in 1970 and 2004 respectively. 

David Greenwald, chairman of Fried Frank, said: “This is the beginning of another exciting chapter for us as we look forward to contributing to the City’s ongoing revitalization post-pandemic, our firm’s continued growth and working with our clients on their most complex matters.” 

A host of US firms have unveiled plans for their lawyers to return to office work from September, despite fears over the impact of the Delta variant. Also set for a 13 September return is Shearman & Sterling, which will outlined details of its Tuesday to Thursday 'in office' schedule last week.

Litigation firm Boies Schiller Flexner, meanwhile, is subleasing a floor at its 55 Hudson Yards headquarters, according to Bloomberg Law. The firm suffered a series of partner losses and leadership shake-ups last year as it sought to reposition its business

Fried Frank was represented by CBRE’s Steve Siegel, Craig Reicher, Tim Dempsey, Ramneek Rikhy, and Ariel Ball. Partners Jennifer A. Yashar, Jonathan L. Mechanic and Meyer Last worked on the deal. 


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