Three-part real estate deal nearly fills up prominent Troy office building

Posted on January 7, 2011

Two deals that will fill up most of the vacant space in the Bank of America office building in Troy have set off a series of real estate deals around metro Detroit.

The Detroit-based law firm Dickinson Wright PLLCwill be moving the 90 employees from its Bloomfield Hills office to the Bank of America building, at 2600 W. Big Beaver.

The law firm has sold its Bloomfield Hills building to the apartment ownership and development firmEdward Rose & Sons.

Additionally, the financial advisory company Merrill Lynch will move its Detroit office into the Bank of America building as part of a consolidation of the bank’s business lines.

Dickinson Wright CEO William Burgess said the change in office space is needed because of the firm’s growth. Dickinson Wright plans to complete the move in July.

“We’re at capacity in the Oakland office,” Burgess said. “But in order to accommodate our future growth plans, the only other option we’d have was to structurally expand this building, which didn’t seem as feasible.”

Dickinson has about 90 attorneys at its current offices and could house well over 100 in the 65,000 square feet leased at the Troy location. Under the terms of its lease, the law firm will occupy the entire third floor of the Troy tower, with an option to acquire an additional floor as growth dictates.

“The growth will not be driven by relocating lawyers from other offices,” Burgess said. “We’re not looking to move people or consolidate. We do anticipate additional organic growth and a mix of both lateral hires (from other firms) and our own regular method of hiring.”

Joe Rosenberg, a senior associate in the Southfield office of CB Richard Ellis, was the broker representing Dickinson Wright in the deal. A.J. Weiner and Ron Gantner in the Detroit office of Jones Lang LaSallerepresented the Bank of America building.

Making the move work financially was Dickinson’s sale of its 63,000-square-foot building at 38525 Woodward Ave. to Edward Rose & Sons. The sale price was not disclosed.

Edward Rose and Sons has been in a building it owns at 30057 Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills since 1995 and needs more space, said Warren Rose, CEO of the company.

“We’re crammed in here shoulder to shoulder right now, and we need room to expand,” he said.

The 90-year-old firm owns close to 57,000 apartment units in the United States.

Rose said the Farmington Hills building most likely will be sold.

Also happening concurrently with the other deals is Merrill Lynch’s move this spring into Troy and out of Detroit.

Diane Wagner, senior vice president of media relations for Bank of America, said the deal was driven by the need to keep business lines near each other.

“This is about combining business lines and not about leaving the city of Detroit,” she said. “Bank of America continues to have a strong presence and make investments to the city of Detroit.

Merrill Lynch has moved out of roughly 25,000 square feet of space in the 1 million-square-foot One Detroit Center building in Detroit, formerly named the Comerica Tower. Wagner did not provide the square footage for the firm’s new space.

The 450,000-square-foot Bank of America building was originally built for Standard Federal Bank, which was then acquired by LaSalle Bank, which was then acquired by Bank of America.

If Merrill Lynch took an amount of space similar to what it had in Detroit, the two deals would put the Bank of America building at 93 percent occupancy,when calculating rates based on building data from Washington-based CoStar Group.