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Law Firm Inks 2-Floor Lease At Prominent Baltimore Tower

250 West Pratt St., pictured before the Pandora signage was removed when that company left for New York.

Law firm Semmes, Bowen & Semmes signed a lease for two full floors at Baltimore's 250 West Pratt St. office tower, taking over part of the space abandoned last year by Pandora. 

The nearly 33K SF deal marks the second stint at 250 West Pratt St. for the law firm, which was founded in 1887. It was one of the first tenants at the 24-story building when it opened in 1986 but then moved its headquarters to 25 South Charles St. in 2008. 

“We are very excited to return to 250 West Pratt St. and to renew our commitment to the City of Baltimore and the Central Business District," Semmes, Bowen & Semmes Chairman Thomas McCarron said in a statement, adding that it is "one of the iconic buildings in the city."

250 West Pratt St. is arguably the most prominent building on the city's downtown skyline, given its stairlike architecture and its location looming over the scoreboard at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Corporate Office Property Trust purchased the office tower for $63.5M in 2015, property records show. 

The property suffered one of the most notable tenant losses since the pandemic began when jeweler Pandora in December announced plans to depart five floors in favor of 27K SF at 1540 Broadway in New York. 

The Semmes, Bowen & Semmes deal is the latest in a string of leases for COPT, which owns some of the most recognizable buildings in the Baltimore skyline.   

Last week, the landlord said law firm Ice Miller LLP leased roughly 6K SF at its 100 Light St. building. In February, ABR Capital Partners leased 11.6K SF on that building's 24th floor, planning to relocate from 300 East Lombard St., its home for about two decades. 

COPT purchased 100 Light St. in 2015 for $121M, according to property records. Subsequently, the firm invested more than $20M to reposition the 35-story, 562K SF office tower. 

Despite recent successes and the prominence of these properties, both have hit stumbling blocks as Baltimore's office market navigated historic setbacks, including the pandemic. Researchers at CBRE found that the city had an all-time-high office vacancy in the first quarter, during which leasing plummeted about 50% from the fourth quarter. 

In October, a move by law firm Baker Donelson to donate unwanted office space at 100 Light St. rather than try and find a sublease highlighted downtown property owners' struggles to find tenants due to the soft office market.