Monica Paquette (New York Law Journal), April 20, 2011
Wilk Auslander, the law firm formerly known as Siller Wilk, is moving its offices to Times Square. The firm has signed a 10-year lease for 34,000 square feet at 1515 Broadway, between 44th and 45th streets, a space larger than its current 24,500 square feet at 675 Third Ave., where its lease expires in September.
Founded in 1987, Wilk Auslander, which has been a part of the East Side neighborhood along Third Avenue since its start, says it needs the additional 9,500 square feet of office space.
“The firm has been growing consistently,” said Robert P. Reichman, a partner at Wilk Auslander. “Our current office space is completely full with attorneys doubled up in offices and using cubicles,” he said.
Wilk Auslander has a broad range of practices, including litigation, real estate, corporate, bankruptcy and trusts and estates. It has about 45 attorneys and 25 support staff in New York. The firm also has an office in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2010, Wilk Auslander added a half dozen attorneys and plans on hiring three to five more by the end of this year.
"The new space will accommodate the firm's continued growth," Mr. Reichman said.
Noah Shapiro, of counsel at Haynes and Boone, represented the landlord.
The Broadway property is owned in joint venture by SL Green Reality Corp. and Société Immobiliére Trans Québec (SITQ). SITQ is a real estate subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, a private equity firm based in Montréal. The joint venture acquired the property in January 2002.
More than $40 million in capital improvements have been completed at 1515 Broadway, including a new lobby, entrances, corridors, restrooms and elevators.
Both parties declined to comment on the terms of the lease.
"We received an excellent deal," Mr. Reichman said, noting that the firm's Third Avenue lease was signed during a landlord's market, in early 2001, and now rates generally favor tenants.
Studley's April report has class-A rates for the Times Square neighborhood between $62 and $67 per square foot. One source said that the asking rate for a high floor is about $70 per square foot. The Third Avenue location is about $60 per square foot.
Wilk Auslander leased the entire 43rd floor at 56-story 1515 Broadway that has more than 2 million square feet. The offices at the new location will be all on one floor.
Consolidating its offices to a single floor, having build-to-suit office space, and a quality landlord were top priorities for the law firm, David L. Hoffman, Jr., executive managing director at Cassidy Turley, said in a statement. Mr. Hoffman served the tenant on the lease.
For commuting, a Times Square location is ideal because it is equidistant between Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, Mr. Reichman said.
Viacom International Inc. and MTV Networks are some of the major tenants at 1515 Broadway.
In addition to Mr. Hoffman, Cassidy Turley managing director Wendy Miller served the tenant.
SL Green was internally served by senior vice president David M. Kaufman as well as by Cynthia Wasserberger, a senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle.