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Debevoise to Move Offices to Manhattan’s Hudson Yards

Jan. 7, 2020, 10:33 PM

Debevoise & Plimpton has a new home in the Big Apple as the firm announces its decision to move its headquarters to the booming Hudson Yards area.

The firm says it signed a 20-year lease in “The Spiral,” a 65-story commercial tower currently under construction at 66 Hudson Boulevard on Manhattan’s far west side.

Debevoise will move from its current location in Midtown at 919 Third Avenue and will lease approximately 530,000 square feet of space across The Spiral’s 40th through 52nd floors.

Debevoise joins several other Big Law firms that have moved or are preparing to move their New York offices to the Hudson Yards area, which is seeing extensive commercial and residential development.

“There’s a real ‘wow’ factor,” Debevoise presiding partner Michael Blair said of the new space.

“I thought I would be relatively indifferent, but when I walked into these spaces I just thought, ‘Wow,” Blair said.

The office, which the firm plans to occupy starting in the second half of 2022, will feature designs typical of the high-end construction taking place in Hudson Yards. It’ll include 10-foot ceilings, floor to ceiling glass walls, and state of the art technology and security.

The building also has cascading terraces along the exterior which means that every floor has an outdoor space, a rarity in Manhattan construction. The interior of the building will have staircases that mirror the cascading terraces to create not only visual connectivity between floors, but space, including a cafe,for attorneys to meet and collaborate.

While the cost per square foot at Debevoise’s new office is higher than at its current New York home, moving into the new building will create efficiencies that result in a lower cost per lawyer, Blair said.

“You get incredible new space that fosters the kind of interconnection that we all want to achieve in our organizations, and you get it for, at the end of the day, a lower cost per lawyer,” Blair said. “It’s hard not to be very attracted to that.”

The deal for the New York-based firm’s move to 66 Hudson Boulevard took about three months. Debevoise was previously reported to be close to inking a deal at nearby 50 Hudson Yards, but Facebook’s 1.5 million square foot lease across three buildings in the area including 1.2 million at 50 Hudson Yards, reportedly prompted the firm to change plans. Blair declined to comment on the subject.

Debevoise will have many Big Law neighbors in its new New York home.

Boies Schiller Flexner, Milbank, and Cooley have their Big Apple offices at 55 Hudson Yards. Cravath Swaine & Moore announced in October it would be moving its New York headquarters from Midtown to Two Manhattan West, just next door to One Manhattan West, which is anchored by Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

“When you look at the tenant roster of these buildings, it’s a very blue-chip set of companies and firms that are going over there, so there’s some sense of excitement about a brand new center within the city of very high-end businesses and professional firms,” Blair said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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