God Help Us. Lawyers Plan Long-Term with $900 M. Lease

Cravath is staying right at home in their Death Star.

The white shoe law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore has signed a 15-year renewal at the Worldwide Plaza at 825 Eighth Avenue that will cost the firm $900 million, Bloomberg News reports.

That would make the deal one of the most expensive real estate committments in history. MetLife agreed last December to pay about $850 million over 21 years when it leased 410,000 square feet at 1095 Avenue of the Americas.

Harry and Billy Macklowe paid $1.73 billion for the 49-story Worldwide Plaza earlier this year, the second most expensive sale in the city's history. That deal was part of a seven-building portfolio buy the Macklowes made with Blackstone.

Bloomberg reports that Cravath will retain its nearly 600,000 square feet at a little less than $100 per square foot, a far cry from the $39 per foot it paid for a lease it signed in 1989. When Cravath moved to the Hell's Kitchen building back in the 1980's, it was a risk for a high-powered law firm to move that far west, even if it was in a brand-new tower. Twenty years later, with the West Side firmly established, the deal was clearly a steal, especially over the last few years.

And as The Observer's Anna Schneider-Mayerson and Jesse Wegman reported this week, associates and partners at Cravath have a special relationship with the building:

At Cravath, summers learn why their colleagues semi-affectionately refer to the Worldwide Plaza headquarters as the Death Star. “Under the guise of wanting to give you a taste of what the real Cravath life was like … you worked closer to associate hours,” one survivor recalled.

Those late hours will be spent in the tower through at least 2024.

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