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Limited Office Options for Law Firms


Some of the big leasing stories in the market lately involved law firms and space in the five new towers going up in the core—Bull Housser pre-leasing 67k SF in Telus Garden and McCarthy Tetrault pre-leasing 82k SF at 745 Thurlow (image). Don't expect any more deals at this scale, though, according to a Jones Lang LaSalle global report on law firms and real estate in major cities. Of the 12 firms that occupy over 50k SF in Vancouver, most have West Georgia and Burrard addresses. The study shows that other than the two deals several other prominent firms opted to renew their existing leases rather than relocate to the new towers.


Recently, Stikeman Elliott renewed its 34k SF space on Burrard, and Heenan Blaikie renewed 27k SF space on West Hastings. Pre-leasing in the new Class-A towers has gone very well--60% of the 1.7M SF of CBD office space under construction (it seems everyone just wants something to look forward to). Very few large contiguous blocks of space are available. Firms with leases expiring in 2015 and 2016 will have to wait for the next wave of construction, like Credit Suisse/Swiss Real's planned 31-storey tower at Howe and West Pender. "Either this type of opportunity, or the backfill spaces that tenants will leave behind [after moving into the new towers] may provide the only large blocks of space for lease in 2015/16," JLL SVP Gavin Reynolds tells us.