Manhattan law firm McKee Nelson LLP is planning to leave its offices in Midtown for a larger space in Lower Manhattan. The firm has signed a long-term lease for 67,000 sq. ft. of office space at 1 Battery Park Plaza, a 35-story office tower owned jointly by two local families.

McKee Nelson currently occupies 25,000 sq. ft. of office space at 5 Times Square. The firm plans to occupy its new space by next spring. "McKee Nelson’s new space at 1 Battery Park Plaza will accommodate 68 attorneys immediately and up to 91 attorneys within two years," says Reed Auerbach, managing partner of McKee Nelson’s New York office. "In addition to spectacular office space, this move provides expansion options to support our firm’s planned growth to 130 attorneys in the New York office."

The move comes as lower Manhattan’s office market is still limping. Average asking rents for Class-A office downtown office space fell from $35.60 per sq. ft. in September 2003 to $32.16 per sq. ft. in September 2004. Rents at McKee Nelson’s new building at 1 Battery Park Plaza average $35 per sq. ft.