As announced some time ago, law firm Lathrop and Gage is shuttering its downtown office, consolidating its two St. Louis offices in a single location with 46 employees in Clayton. The firm has leased two floors in the Pierre Laclede building for a total of 30,518 sf, and 23 employees will be moving there from the former downtown office, which was located in the Equitable Building at 10 S. Broadway.
Did the city of St. Louis make any attempt to convince Lathrop and Gage to remain and grow its presence downtown instead, or was it content to lose yet another law firm? A 30,000 sf lease is nothing to sneeze at, and had Lathrop and Gage consolidated downtown, their lease would have helped stablize the Class A vacancy rate. Instead, downtown now has another hole to fill.
Lathrop and Gage was willing to take space in a Class B building in Clayton instead of Class A space downtown. That says a lot about what downtown is up against these days. Clayton has seemingly long held an edge over downtown as a location for small firms and solo practitioners, while downtown has traditionally been home to the larger firms. Downtown has begun to lose its edge in recent years after the exodus of firms like Husch & Eppenberger/Blackwell Sanders, Armstrong Teasdale and Stinson Morrison Hecker, and it's very disconcerting to see.