In The News

Law Firm to Stay at Downtown Dallas Office Tower but in New Creative Space

Aug 3, 2022

A law firm headquartered in downtown Dallas is extending its stay at the same address it has had for 17 years.

Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr signed a 15-year lease for nearly 78,000 square feet of office space spanning three floors within Ross Tower, a 45-story, 1.1 million-square-foot office building at 500 N. Akard St. The lease agreement was reached months after the law firm implemented a new hybrid work schedule for its attorneys and its non-lawyer employees. The new space is being designed with the help of Gensler to make it a more efficient workplace. 

The law firm plans to move into its new space spanning floors 40, 41 and 42 in the fall of 2023, moving from floors 36, 38, and 39. It is now in the process of finalizing architectural plans. 

"We have always allowed our attorneys the opportunity to work remotely if and when needed," Meredith Falke Plunkett, chief business development and marketing officer, told CoStar News in an email, adding the law firm returned to its operations at Ross Tower in the spring of 2021. "Earlier this year, we rolled out hybrid schedules for all non-attorney employees, but we are not creating hoteling spaces for attorneys or non-attorney employees," Plunkett said. "By having a smarter, more efficient build-out, we are able to keep the same size space, but open the door to a more creative use of this space."

The decision to not expand its office space - even though its employee base is expanding - comes as real estate executives are carefully watching the decisions corporate leaders are making and how they have changed since the pandemic not only shook the world but also the demand for office space. 

The design team is expected to help the law firm maximize the use of its space with the help of new technologies and create spaces for collaboration and natural interactions, Plunkett said. Construction on the new space is expected to begin in early December.

Munsch Hardt, founded by Rick Kopf and Steve Harr, as well as the late Russ Munsch, has 176 employees in Dallas, which is 50% more than when it first committed to Ross Tower in 2005. Ever since CEO Phil Appenellezr took a leadership position at the firm in 2014, the firm has been focused on growing its litigation, corporate and real estate attorney team. Last year, the firm's executives said Munsch Hardt had record profits. 

The firm's extension of its lease at the office tower underscores its long-standing commitment to Dallas, the city where it was founded in 1985, Appenzller said in a statement. In offering "top-quality offices at the intersection of Uptown and downtown Dallas," he said, the firm will continue to serve its clients for many years to come.

HPI acquired Ross Tower a decade into Munsch Hardt's original lease term. The landlord has invested $20 million into upgrading the high-rise office building's common areas and amenities.

For the Record 

Stream Realty Partners' Craig Wilson, Dan Harris, Randy Cooper and Tim Terrell represented Munsch Hardt in its lease renewal. Pacific Builders is the general contractor for Munsch Hardt's new space. 

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