The Real Deal New York

Mega law firm Kirkland & Ellis expands to more than 500K sf at 601 Lex

Company signs on for an additional 120K sf
By Rich Bockmann | December 11, 2017 03:35PM

601 Lexington Avenue and Owen Thomas

Kirkland & Ellis, which ranks as the world’s third-largest law firm with $2.6 billion in annual revenues, expanded its footprint at the former Citigroup Center to more than half-a-million square feet with the addition of four floors.

The Chicago-based firm signed a deal to take an extra 120,000 square feet at the iconic, 59-story Midtown office tower at 601 Lexington Avenue, sources told The Real Deal. The new lease brings Kirkland & Ellis’ spread in the Boston Properties’ tower to about 520,000 square feet after the company signed an early renewal in 2015 for 400,000 square feet running through 2039.

Asking rents in the building are north of $100 per square foot. Representatives for Kirkland & Ellis and Boston Properties could not be immediately reached for comment.

A team at JLL of Frank Doyle, Cynthia Wasserberger and Dave Kleiner handle leasing at the 1.4 million-square-foot tower along with Boston Properties’ Andy Levin. Savills Studley’s Mitchell Steir, Matthew Barlow, Greg Taubin, David Goldstein and Jason Perla represent Kirkland & Ellis. Brokers on both sides of the deal declined to comment.

Founded in 1909, Kirkland & Ellis has a reputation in the private equity and mergers-and-acquisitions world. The firm is working with Toys “R” Us on its restructuring and potential bankruptcy. The American Lawyer ranked the company as the third largest law firm worldwide by revenues, and the New York Law Journal counts it as the 10th largest law firm in New York state by headcount, with 420 attorneys.

Boston Properties is now renovating 601 Lexington, which last year was designated as the city’s youngest landmark, along with the smaller, six-story building next door at 159 East 53rd Street.