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With signage rights, von Briesen opts to stay put

By: Jack Zemlicka, [email protected]//August 1, 2011//

With signage rights, von Briesen opts to stay put

By: Jack Zemlicka, [email protected]//August 1, 2011//

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A sign for Quarles & Brady LLP marks the top of the office building at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Milwaukee where the firm leases space. Competing firm von Briesen & Roper SC has decided to sign a new lease with the building now that it will have the chance to prominently display its own signage, as well. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

One of the reasons Milwaukee law firm von Briesen & Roper SC considered moving after more than 25 years, was because its building prominently featured a competitor’s logo.

But now the firm, which has leased space in the building at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave. since 1985, will have the opportunity to post its own array of signage visible to downtown patrons.

As part of a new 10-year lease that will start next June, von Briesen president and CEO Randy Crocker negotiated for signage rights on four of the buildings surfaces, including the outside of the building near the 17th floor and above the parking lot.

“With this deal,” he said, “there are enough signage rights that if we took advantage of them all, it would look a lot like the von Briesen building.”

As it is, the building is largely associated with rival firm Quarles & Brady LLP, which also leases space in the building and as part of its 2005 lease renewal had a 13-foot tall promotional sign placed on top of the 30-story structure. A representative of Quarles could not be immediately be reached for comment.

Crocker said other than maintaining the von Briesen sign near the entrance of the building, he isn’t yet sure if the firm will take advantage of the other placements.

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” he said. “It’s an option I wanted to have because I want to be seen as a tenant in this building as well.”

Since 2009, the von Briesen firm of about 200 employees had explored other leasing options in the downtown area, including two established office buildings and three new developments.

Crocker declined to discuss those options, other than to say the firm space-planned several locations and issued a request for proposals to anchor a new downtown development.

“We looked hard,” he said. “The process ran from fall 2009 until July 2011 and I didn’t think this decision would be made this late.”

The firm’s lease was set to expire in 2013, but Crocker said the new deal will allow the firm to occupy an additional 20,000 square feet starting next June.

Currently, von Briesen maintains about 50,000 square feet of space on floors seven, eight and a part of 12.

The renewed lease will allow the firm to occupy 70,000 square feet of completely renovated space on all of floors nine, 10 and 11.

The additional space also includes an Information Technology Center that will seat more than 50 people and serve as a moot court room, a conference space for both internal and external meetings and a webinar studio.

Crocker declined to discuss the terms of the lease, saying “we sort of had an offer we couldn’t refuse.”


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