Feb. 14, 2017 - Washington Business Journal

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has officially signed on as anchor tenant at Alexander Court, the multimillion-dollar renovation and combination of two downtown D.C. office buildings, after months of speculation of a deal in the works.

The law firm’s D.C. office, with more than 230 local lawyers, is now based at 1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW. It has signed a 17-year lease for 185,000 square feet at 2001 K St. NW and is slated to move in 2019. The lease is a significant win for Rockrose Development Corp. and Spitzer Enterprises, who cast their lots together more than two years ago to combine 2001 K St. NW and 2000 L St. NW to create Alexander Court.

The firm is shrinking its footprint from about 240,000 square feet in its current space. The terms were not disclosed. Rockrose and Spitzer were seeking a triple-net asking rent in the high $50-per-square-foot range. Triple net leases do not include insurance and other operating expenses.

“Akin Gump’s Washington office opened nearly half a century ago and grew to become not only the firm’s largest office but also a Washington institution,” Akin Gump Chairperson Kim Koopersmith said in a statement. “This move ensures that we will remain a fixture in our nation’s capital for many years to come.”

Akin Gump is moving into the top four floors of Alexander Court’s North Building and will have its own dedicated reception area as part of the building’s three-story lobby, the law firm said. The firm considered a handful of alternate locations, including new construction elsewhere in the District, before settling on Alexander Court, Akin Gump Partner-in-charge Tony Pierce said in an interview.

Moving to Maryland or Virginia isn’t something the firm seriously considered, Pierce said. Akin Gump would have preferred to stay at 1333 New Hampshire Ave. if that had been a realistic option, he added. It no longer was given changes in how the firm uses space, including eliminating areas the firm set aside for its law library and secretarial pools.

“The space that we’re in is not efficient — a wonderful location, but just not an efficient space,” he said.

The combined Alexander Court, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, will feature a 12-story atrium connecting the two buildings, a landscaped rooftop terrace, lobby coffee and wine bar, and on-site child care.

CBRE represented Akin Gump in the lease, and Avison Young represented Alexander Court.