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Chamberlain Hrdlicka Law Firm Extends Downtown Houston Lease, Plans $6M Revamp

Chamberlain Hrdlicka law firm is planning $6M worth of improvements to its office in downtown Houston and has committed to stay there through 2035, according to building owner Brookfield Properties.

Two Allen Center

Chamberlain Hrdlicka has been at the building, Two Allen Center at 1200 Smith St., since 1985. The lease agreements mean it will continue to occupy 55K SF on the 13th and 14th floors.

The firm was established in Houston 60 years ago and now has offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Antonio. 

“After analyzing every possible alternative in downtown, the firm elected to stay in Allen Center,” said Cushman & Wakefield team of Tim Relyea, David Guion and David Endelman who represented the law firm, in a release. “The lawyers at Chamberlain Hrdlicka really like the recently completed renovations and amenities in and around Allen Center.”

Chamberlain Hrdlicka’s decision to stay and invest in its space contrasts to other law firms and downtown businesses that are vacating or rightsizing amid a wider contraction of the office market.

“The portfolio clients that I work with, they're all looking at their offices and saying, ‘OK, partners, we know you like your corner office, but we're not doing it anymore. We're going to standardize the offices,’” Savills Corporate Managing Director Lesa Nickelson French said at an October Bisnow event, pointing to law firm Vinson & Elkins scaling down from 400K SF to 200K SF as one example.

Because office leases are a top expense for law firms, major firms have been increasingly cutting per-lawyer square footage and trimming overall space as the legal world belatedly reckons with the reality of hybrid work, Reuters reported in mid-November.

But Chamberlain Hrdlicka Chief Operating Officer John Meredith said Allen Center’s recent renovations and added amenities created an inviting work environment for its attorneys, staff and visitors that convinced it to stay put.

“With additional improvements to our office space, we want to further enrich our entire employee’s experience,” Meredith said in a release. 

The firm retained Gensler to design the office renovations, which will include new amenities, bring more natural light, and create collaborative and functional modern workspaces.

Brookfield Properties was represented by CBRE’s Bubba Harkins, Russell Hodges and Jessica Ochoa in the lease negotiations.