DLA Piper signs 6,000 square metre Sydney CBD lease amid surge in law firm activity

Law firms continue to play a major role in taking up prime Sydney CBD office space with law firm DLA Piper signing a lease agreement covering 6,000 square metres of office at Charter Hall's 1 Martin Place office tower.

DLA Piper will occupy five floors in the high-rise tower on a 10-year lease term in one of the largest office leasing deals in the Sydney CBD signed this year.

The 24-level A-grade office building is jointly owned by the No.1 Martin Place Trust and Charter Hall.

Martin Place will serve as the Sydney headquarters for the law firm, which will move in mid-2014.

It currently leases level 38 at 201 Elizabeth Street.

The law firm merged with Phillips Fox in January 2011 to create the largest Australian-based law firm.

Charter Hall joint managing director David Harrison says there has been "significant leasing activity in the Martin Place precinct over the past 18 months as tenants refocus on the considerable benefits of operating out of high quality buildings, located in the heart of the CBD, surrounded by customers and clients".

The lease comes as the most recent Knight Frank Asia-Pacific Law Firm Review found that international law firms are reacting to market opportunities and changing regulatory environments to expand their presence in the Asia Pacific region.

According to the report in the past Sydney law firms "generally clustered around the courts and legal precinct".

"However following legislative changes and a consequent change of focus towards more corporate or commercial law, more firms have moved closer to their clients in the “Core” and into quality Grade-A/Premium grade office buildings.

"The increasing competitive pressure from international firms has manifested in a flight to quality, with the legal sector proving to be the most active sector of the market by transaction volume," says Knight Frank.

Recent law firm lease deals include Corrs Chambers Westgarth leasing 8,000 square metres at 8 Chifley Square from the third quarter of 2013 and law firm Ashurst leasing 14,000 square metres at 5 Martin Place.

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Source: Knight Frank

DLA Piper was represented by Michael Kearins, director of Cushman & Wakefield’s occupier services business.

The leasing of No.1 Martin Place is being managed by CBRE’s James Patterson and Jenine Cranston in tandem with Greg Fisher and Mark Semple of DTZ.

“We are in a competitive leasing market at the moment with tenants focussing on high quality," says Patterson.

In the past 18 months, tenant commitments for the Martin Place precinct have exceeded 60,000 square metres of space.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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