Tobacco-busting law firm takes 38K sf at 399 Park

Robins Kaplan signs a sublease near its present digs at 601 Lexington

TRD New York /
Feb.February 24, 2017 01:35 PM

601 Lexington Avenue and 399 Park Avenue (Credit: Boston Properties)

Robins Kaplan, a Minnesota-based law firm that opened its New York City office in 2010, is relocating from its home on Lexington Avenue and expanding to 38,000 square feet just a short walk away on Park Avenue.

The company signed a sublease covering 38,000 square feet on the 36th and 37th floors at Boston Properties’ TRData LogoTINY 399 Park Avenue with the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, which is consolidating space after the two named firms merged last year, sources told The Real Deal.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t clear, but asking rents for direct deals in the building spanning the full block between East 53rd and 54th streets are north of $100 per square foot. The sublease runs through 2022.

Robins Kaplan is in expansion mode in New York, hiring lawyers to beef up its antitrust, bankruptcy and commercial-litigation practices. The company’s office is now spread across 30,000 square feet at 601 Lexington Avenue on a sublease expiring at the end of April with the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, which has 400,000 square feet in the 59-story tower.

“Our sublease is up and they need the space, so we had to find additional space,” said Ron Schutz, a managing partner in Robins Kaplan’s New York office. The company’s grown from a small handful of lawyers in 2010 to 36, and Schutz said the four-and-a-half-year sublease will give the firm the right amount of time to figure out how much space it needs down the line.

“One thing that’s still not clear to us is just how big we’re going to be in New York,” he said.

Citigroup sold its majority stake in 601 Lexington to Boston Properties in 2001, and then relocated its headquarters across the street to 399 Park. The bank is relocating its headquarters to Lower Manhattan later this year. Boston Properties, which also owns 399 Park, began renovating the 1.7 million-square-foot tower last year.

Robins Kaplan is smaller than many of the big national law firms, but earned a reputation as a top litigator when it won a $6.1 billion settlement against big tobacco firms on behalf of the state of Minnesota in 1998.

CBRE’s Ken Rapp, Sam Seiler and Chris Corrinet represented Robins Kaplan in the deal. Another team at CBRE including Craig Reicher, Tim Dempsey and Greg Maurer-Hollaender negotiated on behalf of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. The brokers declined to comment.

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