The law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice plans to relocate to Dominion Realty’s Charter Square building after its lease at the Wells Fargo Capitol Center expires at the end of 2015.
Raleigh-based Dominion was among three developers who had been courting the firm to be an anchor tenant in their planned buildings. Womble is expected to lease between 43,000 and 45,000 square feet in the 243,000-square-foot Charter Square building.
Womble’s decision is another blow to the Wells Fargo Capitol Center, where the firm now leases 68,000 square feet. Last summer, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein announced it would leave the Wells Fargo building when its lease expires later this year and move one block south to Highwoods’ PNC Plaza building.
The $63 million Charter Square building is expected to open in about 13 months at the south end of Fayetteville Street. HDR Engineers, CBRE, JDavis, Eschelon Hospitality and Dominion have announced plans to lease space in the new building.
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Dominion also has a two-year option to buy the north side of the original Charter Square site, where a second office tower is planned.
Womble has been studying the possibility of moving for about a year. It recently narrowed its possible destinations to four, including its existing building, Charter Square, developer Gregg Sandreuter’s Edison office building planned for the corner of Martin and Wilmington streets, and Kane Realty’s 18-story tower at North Hills.
“We viewed this as a great opportunity to literally get in on the ground floor of Charter Square and to be able work with our architects to design some next-generation law firm space,” said Johnny Loper, a partner with Womble Carlyle.
The firm has about 100 employees in Raleigh, including about 50 lawyers.