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Harter Secrest & Emery law firm plans move of office from BofA Building to Key Center

It’s office space musical chairs again.

Regional law firm Harter Secrest & Emery LLP will be moving its Buffalo office across Fountain Plaza, from the Bank of America Building to Key Center, getting higher and more flexible space in a prominent building while helping to fill a remaining hole in Key Center caused by other departures.

The Rochester-based firm, which has been in the Buffalo market for 20 years, is relocating from 16,000 square feet on the fourth floor of 12 Fountain Plaza to 15,000 square feet on the 10th floor of the North Tower at 50 Fountain Plaza. It signed a 15-year lease with Key Success LLC, the New York City-based owner of both buildings.

The move will occur in mid-2016, with 24 attorneys and six legal professionals shuffling from the nine-story building where they have been for nearly 13 years to the two-tower complex next door.

For Key Success and Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., which manages the building, the move helps to fill space vacated by namesake KeyCorp and Delaware North, as well as by other tenants that have shifted within the building.

The State of New York took 95 percent of the Delaware North space, or 100,000 square feet, for its new high-technology innovation hub, anchored by IBM Corp. Law firm Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP took 25,000 square feet of Key’s former space, while public relations agency Eric Mower + Associates changed floors within the building to take up other former Key space.

And Harter Secrest is taking up Mower’s former space. John G. Horn, partner in charge of the firm’s Buffalo office, said the firm has an option to add adjacent space on the ninth or 11th floor as it grows.

The building’s owner is considering a name change for the facility, said Robert G. McDonnell, senior vice president at Ciminelli. For now, Ciminelli is referring to it as 50 Fountain Plaza.

The departures of Harter Secrest and law firm Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel LLP from the Bank of America Building have opened up significant space in that facility. Ciminelli is trying to amass contiguous vacant floors there to market to potential large tenants, McDonnell said, citing “a lot” of requests in the market by clients for 80,000 to 100,000 square feet or more, on multiple floors.

“It’s a great opportunity for us,” he said. “That building was all cut up with smaller tenants. That’s what we’re trying to avoid here in Buffalo.”