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November 20, 2023

Perkins Coie leaving 1201 Third for half the space on Second Avenue

Real Estate Editor

. Photo by Brian Miller [enlarge]
Perkins will move about 800 attorneys and staff to its new home in 2025

One of Seattle's big three law firms, Perkins Coie, announced last week that it will leave its longtime home at 1201 Third Ave. Come 2025, it'll move some 800 attorneys and staff to the nearby Russell Investments Center at 1301 Second Ave.

Perkins is an over century-old firm, founded here in Seattle, and now with national and international reach.

Managing partner James Williams leads the Seattle office, and said of its future home, “The unique space and facilities offered by this landmark building will help us remain a destination law firm for leading legal and business talent, and further strengthen our commitment to the local community.”

Per old broker reports, the firm has about 297,000 square feet at 1201 Third, which sold in 2012 from original developer Wright Runstad & Co. to MetLife Investment Management. Perkins was an original tenant since that building opened, circa 1988.

Now, says Perkins, with “offices designed for hybrid work and hoteling, the firm's Seattle real estate footprint will be reduced by just under 50% to approximately 150,000 square feet.”

That corresponds to Zillow's seven floors at the Russell building (31 through 35, plus 41 and 42), which Savills said in January were being offered for sublease. The DJC and others then reported the news locally. Flinn Ferguson appears to have been Zillow's broker. Even before January, Zillow had been shedding space in the tower, once home to Washington Mutual.

CBRE represents the entirety of the Russell building, where more and more sublease space has been on offer since the pandemic hit. The 42-story building is owned by the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS, and CommonWealth Partners.

The latter's Stefan Khudic said in a statement, “All of us at CommonWealth Partners are very excited to welcome Perkins Coie to Russell Investments Center and to expand our relationship beyond Los Angeles.” (That's the 1888 Century Park building, also owned by CommonWealth, and where Perkins has an office.)

Terms for the Seattle lease were not announced. Perkins didn't name its broker or future architect, and didn't respond to a DJC query before an early deadline.

The Russell building opened circa 2005, with Seattle Art Museum an owner of the lower west portion of the building facing First Avenue.

Among its tenant-friendly features, says Perkins, is its LEED Platinum certification. There's also a 23,000-square-foot, west-facing deck for all tenants, a gym, EV charging in the underground garage, bike parking, Chase bank and easy museum access.

Perkins' announcement is both startling and unsurprising, since so many other companies are shedding office space in the work-from-home era. (Its last lease renewal, per The Seattle Times, was in 2009.) But the decision leaves a big hole to fill at 1201 Third. JLL is the broker there.

It's also the second big law firm to exit the building in recent years. Davis Wright Tremaine vacated eight floors, with some 182,000 square feet, with its 2017 move uphill to Madison Centre.

Before it moved to the then-new 1301 Second (which took its name), Washington Mutual was the namesake tenant at 1201 Third.


Brian Miller can be reached by email at brian.miller@djc.com or by phone at (206) 219-6517.

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