One of Baltimore's most politically influential law firms has become the first tenant to sign up to occupy space in what could be Baltimore's tallest office building.
Representatives of the law firm Shapiro and Olander announced yesterday that they have signed a letter of intent to lease two floors containing 50,000 square feet of space at One Light Street, the 44-story, $180 million to $190 million office tower that Trammell Crow Co. and Capital Guidance Corp. plan to build on the site of the vacant Southern Hotel.
"One Light Street will be the premier office building in downtown Baltimore, and the two floors we occupy promise to be an exciting new home for our expanding firm," Christopher Olander, Shapiro and Olander's managing partner, said yesterday. "This move confirms our commitment to a growing and prosperous Baltimore City."
With the letter of intent, Trammell Crow has beaten Lazard Realty, LaSalle Partners, Attman Properties, the Rouse Co. and several other office-building developers who have been vying to land their first tenants for office towers proposed for downtown Baltimore.
Dirk Mosis, partner in charge of Trammell Crow's Baltimore office, said he was pleased to have Shapiro and Olander signed up and optimistic that its decision to move to One Light Street would prompt others tofollow suit.
"It's a real vote of confidence," Mr. Mosis said. "I think it'll spur some interest from other people. Some people want to wait and see who takes the first step. Shapiro and Olander is an important player in the city and the state, and we're really happy to have them."
Founded in 1972 by Ron Shapiro, campaign treasurer for Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and one of his closest advisers, the law firm originally was known as Shapiro and Sachs and was renamed Shapiro and Olander in 1980.
It has 35 attorneys and five legal assistants and occupies 000 square feet in the Charles Center South office tower at 36 S. Charles St.
Its offices in One Light Street probably will be on the 31st and 32nd floors and will give the firm room to expand to 60 attorneys and 15 legal assistants, with a support staff of 100. The firm has options to lease three additional floors, which would give it room to increase its staff to more than 200.
Mr. Olander said the firm's lease at Charles Center South is due to expire in late 1994.
"We were very favorably impressed with the structure from the beginning in terms of its location, its closeness to the institutions we serve and the fact that it has a very good architect," he said.
Mr. Mosis said Trammell Crow is scheduled to begin construction in time to complete work by late 1993. If the developer turns out to be unable to accommodate Shapiro and Olander's timetable, he said, the law firm will have to find another location or extend its current lease and delay its occupancy date at One Light Street.