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Nixon Peabody staying at KeyCenter in downtown Buffalo

Nixon Peabody LLP, the Northeastern legal powerhouse and one of the largest law firms with a Buffalo presence, has decided to stay in its current office location at Fountain Plaza, after considering alternative locations for almost a year.

The Boston-based firm, which has more than 700 lawyers in 17 offices worldwide, said it signed a long-term lease to remain at the KeyCenter building, where it has been a tenant since 2005. However, it will cut back its space slightly, from 22,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet, occupying all of the fifth floor and part of the fourth floor in the South Tower.

The firm, which has 16 attorneys, four paralegals, and nine other employees in Buffalo, had been considering relocating when its lease expires near the end of this year. Officials spent much of the last year but especially during the fall exploring various options in the city, particularly downtown. “We want to be in the center of things, and the litigators like to be close to the courts,” said Martha Anderson, managing partner for the Buffalo office. “And downtown is having this big resurgence, and we wanted to stay a part of that.”

The lease renewal is an important victory for the owner and managers of KeyCenter. The KeyCenter building is owned by Erwin Zafir’s Key Success LLC of New York City, but Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. handles the leasing and management for the building. The 15-year-old facility is losing two major tenants, Delaware North and KeyBank, to the new 12-story office and hotel tower that Uniland Development Co. is building at 250 Delaware Ave., largely for Delaware North.

But KeyCenter is gaining technology giant IBM Corp. as a tenant, with its IBM Buffalo Innovation Center that was formed as a collaboration with the state under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative. The facility, which will anchor a new high-technology “commercialization hub,” is expected create 500 new jobs focused on analytics, “big data,” cognitive computing, cloud computing and mobile computing.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com