Ruden McClosky Adds To South Florida Office Market Inventory

Ruden McClosky will be adding a substantial amount of square footage back to the Florida real estate market, as a result of closing and shrinking offices around the state in a move necessary to save the financially-troubled firm, according to management.
Ruden McClosky co-managing director Michael Krul noted the firm has closed its Boca Raton at Boca Village, and Miami offices at 701 Brickell, and is considering tweaking their current lease agreement at the Esperante Building in West Palm Beach.
The Fort Lauderdale-based firm, headquartered at 200 East Broward Boulevard, has also closed its Orlando offices and downsized in Tampa. 
In 2008, Ruden McClosky occupied 11 locations around the state.  The firm now has been reduced to 7 locations including Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Tampa, Naples and Tallahassee.
The 6,600-square-foot lease at Boca Village was not set to expire until November 2015, and the firm negotiated a termination agreement that will save it $1 million in rent. The office closed April 30 after the one remaining attorney announced he was leaving to join a client.
In Miami, the firm had 23,000 square feet at 701 Brickell for just two attorneys.  The landlord, TIAA-CREF, agreed to let Ruden out of the lease, saving the firm $1.8 million over the remaining two years of the lease. Ruden rented a small office at Merrick Point Office Suites, located at 3850 Bird Road, Coral Gables, for the attorneys, who moved May 2nd.
In West Palm Beach, at the Esperante Building, where Ruden has just five full-time lawyers left and a few part-timers, the firm is still analyzing its options, Krul said. The firm only needs half the 14,500sf it currently occupies and will consider other options when its lease expires in November, according to the email.
Ruden’s biggest savings were realized in Tampa, where the firm had 33,000 square feet of space for 10 attorneys. It negotiated a deal with its landlord to reduce the space to 10,000 square feet by year’s end, which will save Ruden $4.6 million through August 2016.
The firm has struggled financially for two years with widespread lawyer defections, staff layoffs, office closings and partner holdbacks.  The attorney headcount of 64 is down from a high of about 200 in the early 2000s.



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