When Deloitte signed a 430,000-square-foot lease at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in December, it seemed like the space came from thin air.
The reality, it turns out, is nearly as dramatic: While law firm Chadbourne & Parke was mulling whether to renew its lease there, Deloitte swooped in and leased the space from under them, according to sources with some knowledge of the deal. Now the law firm, which occupied roughly 300,000 square feet, is scrambling.
For the New York-based firm, which moved from Wall Street to 30 Rock in the ’70s, the unexpected move hurts in more ways than one: Several sources said the firm will likely be unable to afford a 30 Rock-style top-tier space, where asking rents are around $70 a foot, especially with prices rising on Class A office space. Moreover, moving costs will likely be over $220 per foot, a major burden to bear in a weak economy.
The firm is interested in Boston Properties’ new development at 740 Eighth Avenue, sources said, where Proskauer Rose was expected to take half a million feet. Chadbourne would likely anchor the West Side tower, taking the cheaper bottom floors. But the timing looks tight because the firm’s 30 Rock lease expires in 2014, and construction on 740 Eighth can’t get started until the building signs a major tenants (it could reportedly be completed in 30 months). That’s nerve-wracking for a mid-sized law firm with an accounting giant nipping at its heels.
You can pretty much count the alternatives on one hand: There’s 1221 Sixth Avenue, where jumbo tenants are reportedly lining up around the block to fill Societe Generale’s space, but no sources could confirm if the firm is looking there. The tenant hasn’t looked at 3 Columbus Circle. Could it be one of the recent showings at 4 Times Square?
No parties directly involved, including Chadbourne and its broker, Barry Gosin of Newmark Knight Frank, returned calls for comment.