Press and Media

Ogletree Deakins signs on as inaugural tenant of Bull Street building

Originally published Aug. 11, 2015 at: http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/55354-ogletree-deakins-signs-on-as-inaugural-tenant-of-bull-street-building

BY CHRIS COX
ccox@scbiznews.com

COLUMBIA, SC

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Ogletree Deakins has become the inaugural tenant of the First Base Building at the new Bull Street campus redevelopment, the employment and labor law firm confirmed Tuesday.

“This is something that’s a big deal,” managing shareholder Katherine Dudley Helms said. “Even though a lot of our attorneys have national and international clients, we feel very strongly about Columbia. And we feel like this lets us be part of all the growth.”

The company has signed a 10-year lease for about 12,000 square feet of office space. The firm, which is nearing the end of its lease of more than 13,000 square feet at the Meridian Building on Main Street, aims to relocate by Opening Day for the Columbia Fireflies baseball team, currently set for April 14.

“We’ve been working on this for a while,” Helms said. “This was starting to percolate about the time we had to start looking. We looked at properties all over downtown and this was just really, really exciting to us. Our office is really growing. Everything kind of goes with our mentality at the moment. It’s a good fit in a lot of ways.”

The firm already has an architect working on the space and is currently picking out carpets, signifying just how close the move is. The company plans to have more common area than it currently does, and is looking to use more conference room space rather than large attorney offices. Shareholders and associates will also have the same size offices.

“A lot of law firms have done this,” Helms said, “but we’re kind of going away from the old law firm model and much more to a modern, clean line and we really want to utilize the view.”

More importantly, Ogletree Deakins said it is anxious to be part of the growing community at Bull Street Common. Only one other tenant has been announced for the area – co-working space SOCO is relocating to the old bakery from the Vista – though several more should soon be on the way.

More than 85,000 square feet of Class A office space was originally available at the building, which named NAI Avant as the exclusive leasing company for the property. The building is situated along the first-base line of Spirit Communications Park, which is under construction at the 180-acre development at the former site of the S.C. State Hospital.

“It was the total package,” Helms said. “We love being downtown, and with the addition of the Hub and everything, all the students downtown and everything that’s come with that has really been wonderful. We feel like we’ll still have that. We’re still going to be fairly close to the court and all those sorts of things. But we really like the fact that mixed community that this is going to ultimately offer.”

Reach Chris Cox at 803-726-7545 or on Twitter @chrisbcox.