April 09, 2007

Baker & Daniels Becoming New Tenant in Remodeled South Bend Building

The City of South Bend has announced a new downtown revitalization effort that includes the investment of more than $7 million in the KeyBank Building and the relocation of Baker & Daniels LLP, one of the city's largest law firms, to the renovated building.

The 14-story KeyBank Building and plaza at the corner of Michigan and Jefferson streets will soon undergo an extensive interior and exterior renovation. Baker & Daniels has signed a 15-year lease for the top four floors of the building and is joining the building's owners, The Hinman Company, and KeyBank in investing between $7 million and $8 million to renovate the building.

South Bend Mayor Stephen J. Luecke is pleased with Baker & Daniels' decision to remain and reinvest in the city's downtown. "I'm excited that this landmark to our downtown skyline will benefit from a revitalization effort that will transform the building all the way out to the street level," Luecke said. "Our downtown is an important indicator of the economic strength of our local economy, and this renovation and Baker & Daniels' long-term commitment to the downtown illustrates that downtown South Bend is the business center of our community."

"KeyBank and Baker & Daniels have made a long-term commitment to their growth in the business district," added Rich MacDonald, the Hinman Company's chief operating officer. "This renovation will help preserve the KeyBank building as one of the premier venues in the downtown area and bring additional value to all of the tenants in the building."

Brad Toothaker, managing director of CB Richard Ellis in South Bend, was integrally involved with facilitating this project. CB Richard Ellis is a tenant in the KeyBank Building in addition to professionally managing and leasing space for the Hinman Company. CB Richard Ellis also will be relocating within the building and expanding its operations in response to increased activity within the market.

The lobby of the building will be renovated at the same time KeyBank reconfigures and improves its ground floor retail operation. Changes include enhancing the accessibility to the building by moving the entrance to the middle of the building's west side. The City of South Bend is supporting the project by making parking available to building tenants, supporting a real property tax abatement and assisting with entrance and plaza renovations.

"Along with a renovation that will allow us to create an even better experience for KeyBank customers, we are pleased to welcome Baker & Daniels to the building," said Jeff Stone, KeyBank district president.

Baker & Daniels signed its 15-year lease for the top four floors with options on additional space to meet future growth needs. The law firm has outgrown its existing space in the First Bank Building, 205 W. Jefferson St., where it has been a tenant since 1990.

Baker & Daniels' plans call for completely redesigning the floors it will occupy, including the creation of a multimedia meeting room and the construction of a new internal stairway connecting its floors. To design its new office space, Baker & Daniels has retained the nationally recognized, Chicago-based architectural firm of Gary Lee Partners, which also has offices in New York and San Francisco. Gary Lee Partners has designed numerous award-winning residential and commercial projects in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. The firm also designed the Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Washington, D.C. offices of Baker & Daniels.

Richard L. Hill, managing partner of Baker & Daniels' South Bend office, said the firm looked for office space throughout South Bend and Mishawaka. "There were clearly attractive options outside of the downtown area, but we were pulled back here. We realized that downtown South Bend remains the business and financial center of the community. It's the ideal location for growing our business in the region."

Brian Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Baker & Daniels, said that the investment in the South Bend office supports the implementation of the firm's strategic growth plans. "The South Bend office of the firm houses a number of essential practices that serve our clients on a regional and national basis. The new South Bend office will support those practices and our attorneys and professionals who have worked so successfully to expand those practices in this region." Burke said that the new South Bend office will also enable the firm to provide the highest level of services possible to its clients.

As the hub of the 15-county Michiana area, South Bend is a regional center for commerce, culture, education and health care. Each day, more than 17,000 people work downtown, which since 2006 has been the target of more than $250 million of recent or announced development. Occupancy of high-end Class A office space – such as the KeyBank Building, Leighton Plaza, the Chase Tower and the First Source/Marriott complex – exceeds 90 percent. "Whether for business or entertainment, South Bend's downtown abounds with life and vitality," Luecke said.

Cleveland-based KeyCorp is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $92 billion. Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the U.S. and, for certain businesses, internationally.

The Hinman Company, founded in 1977 by Roger E. Hinman, is a commercial real estate investment, development, management, and leasing company. The Hinman Company has established a diverse portfolio of office, retail, and residential properties. Today, the Hinman Company is proud to own and manage several million square feet of commercial space in the Midwest, including 2.8 million square feet in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. For more information about the Hinman Company, visit www.hinmancompany.com.

Founded in 1863, Baker & Daniels LLP is one of Ind iana's largest law firms. With more than 375 lawyers and consulting professionals, Baker & Daniels serves clients in regional, national and international business and litigation matters from offices in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Elkhart, Ind.; Washington, D.C.; and China. For more information about Baker & Daniels, visit www.bakerdaniels.com.
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