Jones Walker is moving its Baton Rouge offices from United Plaza to downtown at the end of 2019, joining other high-profile law firms in the city’s central business district.
The firm will completely renovate the seventh and eighth floors of the City Plaza I building and part of the sixth floor to make room for about 90 attorneys and staff.
Ryan Johnson, a partner with the New Orleans-based law firm who co-chairs the office relocation task force, said the Jones Walker lease in United Plaza is set to expire in December 2019. The company has been in United Plaza since the 1980s, back when it was Gary-Field-Landry & Bradford, which was acquired by Jones Walker in 1995.
“Downtown is such a vibrant area,” Johnson said. “There’s an overall excitement about the ongoing revitalization of downtown and we want to be a part of that.”
Brandon K. Black, Baton Rouge office head, said the move will allow Jones Walker to better serve its clients by putting the firm closer to business offices, state and federal courts, and government offices.
“This is a great move to be closer and better connected to the downtown organizations, events and attractions that the firm supports,” Black said. “After nearly 40 years in our current space, we are excited to begin a new chapter.”
GraceHebert architects will renovate the 46,000 square feet of space that Jones Walker will take up in the City Plaza office building. That's about the same amount of space the company is occupying in United Plaza. Work on the office space should begin "reasonably soon," Johnson said. "We have to be out by December 2019," he said.
NAI/Latter & Blum Commercial in Baton Rouge, represented by Ryan Greene and Ty Gose, were the co-brokers with CBRE working with Jones Walker.
Mike Wampold, who owns City Plaza I and II City Plaza, said he started working with Jones Walker about two years ago. The seventh floor of the City Plaza building was vacant after the Louisiana Department of the Treasury moved into a state office building. Some tenants on the eighth and sixth floor were shuffled around to create enough combined space for Jones Walker.
“This is a great add for downtown,” Wampold said. Adding nearly 100 people to the downtown workforce will fill up nearby apartments and homes, and create more business for nearby restaurants and retailers. All of the downtown housing, restaurants, retail and amenities will help recruit young attorneys to Jones Walker, Johnson said.
Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District, said getting Jones Walker to relocate downtown is “a huge shot in the arm.” On Tuesday, he was writing a thank you note to Jones Walker officials and including information about all of the businesses and services present downtown, such as health care facilities and pharmacies.
“This is big for us,” he said. “We want to offer them any assistance they need.”