Spencer Fane renews its lease in downtown Kansas City

04/04/2014 9:36 AM

04/04/2014 9:36 AM

Spencer Fane, a blue-chip prospect in a hungry local office market, has decided to stay put in a downtown building where it was an original tenant in 1985.

The firm has signed a 12-year extension of its lease at the Commerce Bank Building at 1000 Walnut St. and will expand its office space from 55,000 to 63,000 square feet. The firm will occupy all of the 12th, 13th and 14th floors.

In signing on for a dozen more years, the 130-employee office of the Kansas City-based firm passed on offers from Crown Center to the Country Club Plaza and pitches to be the anchor tenant in proposed new buildings as well.

“We’re thrilled,” said Thomas “Buzz” Willard, president of Tower Properties, the building landlord. “They did a market search and had lots of good options.”

Patrick J. Whalen, managing partner for Spencer Fane, said discussions with the firm’s employees indicated remaining downtown was their overwhelming preference. The firm employs 55 attorneys in Kansas City and a support staff of 75 people.

“I told my colleagues it was my job to look at every option, and I visited 10 or 12 different properties,” Whalen said. “We’re thrilled to renew our commitment to downtown at the same time a new chapter is beginning at Spencer Fane.”

The firm is planning a multimillion-dollar renovation of its space, which has changed little since it moved into the then-new Commerce Bank Building in 1985. The cost of the lease extension and renovation was unavailable.

Plans call for the addition of a conference center for client and social use along with collaborative workspace. Nelson, an international architectural firm, will design the new space. Centric Projects is the contractor.

Work is to begin this spring and be completed by early 2015.

Spencer Fane was founded in Kansas City in 1879 and has six offices in four states. It employs a total of 130 attorneys.

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