Quiet through COVID-19, Denver’s Block 162 office tower has inked its first lease and it’s a big one – The Denver Post

After a challenging 12 months, Block 162, Denver’s 11th tallest building, is nearly ready to open. And when it does, the 30-story, 452-foot office tower’s developers have a 60,000-square-foot lease in their back pocket.

Denver-based law firm Sherman & Howard finalized a deal this week to take on the 23rd and 24th floors, relocating its headquarters from 633 17th St., representatives of the firm and developer Patrinely Group and told The Denver Post.

The floors are a blank slate now but with the help of architectural firm Stantec, they expected to be ready to welcome lawyers, clients and staff sometime in the fourth quarter of 2021, Sherman & Howard officials say.

“We worked really hard to deliver what we believe will be the best office building in the Denver metro area,” David Haltom, Patrinely Group’s vice president for the Rocky Mountain region, said during a tour of the firm’s future space on Thursday. “It’s incredibly meaningful for us to be able to announce a law firm with the history, quality and local roots of Sherman & Howard.”

Block 162 is a joint venture from Patrinely and fellow Texas company USAA Real Estate.

Gregory Densen, Sherman & Howard’s CEO, said the firm considered more than 20 spaces before choosing Block 162, a project it looked into before Patrinely and Co. even broke ground in June 2018. The building’s “hospitality-first” amenities including an 11th-floor communal space with a grab-and-go cafe, outdoor terrace, meeting rooms and fitness center with glass walls that can be opened to allow in fresh air helped hooked the firm, Densen said. Proximity to public transportation and columnless floor plates conducive to the hybrid work-from-home, work-from-the-office model the firm is embracing contributed as well.

“It’s important that the office space is a space that brings us together and is also a space that our team, our clients and our communities want to be,” Densen said. “That’s why Block 162, with its cutting-edge office space and amenities, is the right building for the next generation.”

The Sherman & Howard deal is the first lease that has been publicly announced for the glass-wreathed building at 675 15th St., between Welton and California streets. At 606,000 square feet, Sherman & Howard is only taking up about 10% of the available space.

After the pandemic took hold in March of last year, Haltom said that leasing conversations went quiet for a few months. As of October of last year, more than 4.3 million square feet of office space in the Denver-Boulder area was available for sublease, as firms vacated their offices or shrink their footprints.

But last summer potential tenants began to circle back with Block 162, Haltom said. While he’s not ready to name any names, he said he has been in touch with law firms, finance and investment companies, energy sector companies and tech firms, including some from out of state.

“We are looking forward to increasing momentum this spring and summer,” he said.

Working with contractor Swinerton, Patrinely invested in improving the air filtration and adding wave activated automatic doors in the building’s main lobby and elevator lobbies in response to COVID-19, Haltom said.

Sherman & Howard has been in Denver since 1892. Block 162 will be only its fourth office in the span, Densen said.

Stacy Elder, the firm’s director of administrative services, said the firm’s two floors will eventually have 108 private offices and 12 huddle rooms that can be used for employees dropping in. She doesn’t expect the firm’s 230 Denver-area employees will be in the office at the same time going forward.

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