In an effort to cut costs, law firms increasingly look to Far West Side, downtown

August 20, 2012 11:00AM

Law firms, which have long been pioneers in the Manhattan office market, are upholding that tradition — seeking space downtown and on the Far West Side, as prices even in once relatively affordable markets, such as the Columbus Circle area, have risen, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore made headlines for moving so far west when it inked a deal at Worldwide Plaza, at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street, back in 1989. Now rents have more than doubled for that space, according to brokers. Law firms in particular look to keep office rents down because costs come directly out of partners’ profits, the Journal said.

The firm WilmerHale led the law exodus towards Lower Manhattan, inking a deal for $50 per-square-foot last year, plus concessions, at 7 World Trade, brokers told the Journal. Other firms are likely to follow, especially amid tough times for the legal field as a whole.

“We’re at the very beginning of a westward migration,” Mark Edelstein, chairman of Morrison & Foerster’s real-estate finance practice. “Eighth Avenue is the new Sixth Avenue.” [WSJ]