Law Firm Nears Lease Atop Bus Terminal

High-powered law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is in negotiations with Vornado Realty Trust for more than one-third of the tower planned for atop the Port Authority bus station, a move that, if cemented, would extend the legal establishment’s apparently inexorable drift westward from the white-shoe stronghold of midtown.

A source close to the negotiations confirmed that Paul, Weiss is in serious, though early, negotiations to take 500,000 square feet in the middle of the 42-story building slated to rise from a platform atop the seedy bus terminal.

That’s more than one-third of the planned 1.3 million-square-foot cloud-buster.

Paul, Weiss’ lease for 400,000 square feet at 1285 Avenue of the Americas expires in 2011. The Port Authority tower isn’t expected to be completed until 2012, so presumably the firm would have to take a one-year lease extension.

Gone, apparently, are the days when no self-respecting law firm would wander west of Seventh Avenue.

Proskauer, Rose as well as Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher have reportedly preleased space in Boston Properties’ planned 39-story tower on 55th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. Meanwhile, Seyfarth Shaw, Goodwin Procter, Covington & Burling, and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt have taken space at the New York Times building at 620 Eighth Avenue.

A Paul, Weiss associate who spoke with The Observer on the condition of anonymity said he was perfectly happy with the firm’s current, though rather staid, 1285 Avenue of the Americas offices.

“They’re not glamorous, but law firms don’t tend to be,” he said. “It’s all very conservative for the most part. You know you’re at a law firm, not at an advertising agency. But I think most people here are pretty happy with them.”

Law Firm Nears Lease Atop Bus Terminal