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Jones Day In Talks To Anchor MetLife's Planned Midtown Tower

One of Atlanta's largest law firms could be responsible for launching Midtown's next office tower.

Rendering for MetLife's Midtown Union project in Atlanta

Jones Day, the seventh-largest law firm in Metro Atlanta, with more than 130 attorneys, is in talks with MetLife to anchor the insurance giant's planned 500K SF tower off Spring and 17th streets called Midtown Union, sources tell Bisnow.

The law firm also is considering renewing its office lease at its current location at Pershing Park Plaza, the landmark office building that is perched at the junction of Peachtree and West Peachtree streets in Midtown. Its lease for 140K SF there expires in 2020.

Midtown has seen a boom in office activity in recent years, spawning new additions to the Atlanta skyline, including NCR's new headquarters, Portman Holding's Coda tower and the tower across the street that is slated for Anthem Healthcare's IT operations. The success in Midtown this cycle is prompting a host of developers to push for new projects in the submarket.

Already, Hines has broken ground on T3, a 203K SF timber-framed office building inside the Atlantic Station complex. While Hines has begun construction without any tenants pre-leasing space in the building, the firm is in talks with WeWork, Bisnow previously reported.

Other developers with possible projects in Midtown include Greenstone Properties with a 250K SF project at 1150 Spring St., Selig Enterprises with two separate mixed-use projects and Cousins Properties, with plans for 901 West Peachtree, a 470K SF tower.

Cousins also is reportedly in talks to buy the Atlanta Catholic Archdiocese parcel for a possible office building to accommodate the headquarters of Norfolk Southern. It was unclear as of press time whether Jones Day was in talks with any of those developers.

Pershing Park Plaza in Midtown Atlanta, the current home of law firm Jones Day

Officials with MetLife declined to comment, as did Jones Day Partner-In-Charge Richard Deane. Officials with Savills Studley, which is representing Jones Day, did not return calls seeking comment.

Despite a relatively slow leasing period during the second quarter, rents continue to jump, and activity remains strong, according to Colliers International. The firm is tracking some 400K SF in deals in the near term in the Midtown office submarket, Colliers Director of Research Scott Amoson said. Some 1M SF combined of tenants who lease 75K SF or more are set to see their deals expire in the submarket through 2025, Transwestern previously told Bisnow.

Jones Day is one of the larger tenants scouting the market, and is big enough — in excess of 100K SF — that it could easily anchor a new office development.