One of Baltimore's largest law firms, Ober Kaler, will move its headquarters by next April from the Sun Trust Bank building at 120 E. Baltimore St. to the 100 Light Street office tower.
Lexington Realty Trust, which owns the 35-story tower through an affiliate, announced Thursday that Ober Kaler has signed a lease for 94,213 square feet over six floors of the office tower, formerly known as the Legg Mason building.
The tower is one of downtown Baltimore's tallest, and the lease is the largest announced since Legg Mason moved last year to a new tower in Harbor East, vacating 330,000 square feet on Light Street. To attract new tenants, Lexington Trust is investing more than $43 million to upgrade the building and open a $23.3 million parking garage across Lombard Street.
Ober Kaler chair John Wolf said the law firm considered sites in Hunt Valley, Owings Mills, Towson, Harbor East and elsewhere in Baltimore's central business district, including its present location, before leasing space at 100 Light Street.
"We believe it's an iconic building on the harbor, and we are fans of the old central business district," he said. In addition, "the economics were very favorable...We're very excited about this."
According to Lexington Trust and Ober Kaler, the lease starts on July 1 and expires on March 31, 2026, subject to renewal options. Ober Kaler will occupy floors 19 to 23 as well as a level below the main entrance plaza. The company is planning to start renovations this summer and take occupancy before April 1, 2011. As of July 1, the 100 Light Street building is expected to be approximately 44 percent leased, according to Lexington Trust.
The lease means that 230 employees of Ober Kaler will move to 100 Light Street, including 98 attorneys and support staff. Gensler is the architecture firm handling renovations of space for Ober Kaler.
Ober Kaler currently occupies 85,000 square feet at 120 E. Baltimore St., where it has been since 1991. Before that, it was in the former Maryland National Bank Building at 10 Light St. Founded in 1903, it also has offices in Washington, D.C., and Falls Church, Va.