Dechert tries for downward rent

Dechert’s long-running effort to secure new premises at a bargain basement price has taken a radical new twist. The firm is set to try to negotiate a downward-only rent review clause on premises at 200 Aldersgate Street.

The system, which is virtually unheard of in the City, would allow the firm the option of negotiating its rent downwards when market rates fall below the rate agreed in the lease.

The news comes after it emerged that Dechert’s London office is the only serious contender for the space formerly occupied by Clifford Chance.

The 400,000sq ft building’s lease reverted to Canary Wharf after Clifford Chance’s move to new premises late last year, and the building has been vacant ever since.

It is understood the Philadelphia firm has six buildings on a long list of possibles, with a shortlist of three. It has also expressed interest in 160 Aldersgate Street.

One Dechert partner said: “We still have issues regarding which building we’re picking. Namely, how low can you go?”

Currently at 2 Sergeant’s Inn, Dechert has been looking for around 60,000sq ft. It can leave these premises on a one-year break notice.

Earlier this year, the long leasehold on the old Clifford Chance building, jointly held by Prudential and Nippon Life, was sold to Resolution Group. The City of London retains the freehold.