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FIRST FIDELITY TO LEASE OVER 100,000 SQUARE FEET IN FIRST FIDELITY BUILDING TO MONTGOMERY, McCRACKEN, WALKER & RHOADS

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- First Fidelity Bank today announced that the law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads has reached an agreement in principle for a 15-year lease for office space in the historic First Fidelity Building, located on the Avenue of the Arts at 123 South Broad Street.

The law firm will occupy approximately 108,000 square feet in the top five and a half floors of the 30-story building. With more than 375 attorneys and staff members, Montgomery, McCracken will be the building's single largest tenant, outside of First Fidelity.

"We are delighted to welcome Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, a prestigious and well-respected established Philadelphia law firm, to the building which has been our home and headquarters for over 67 years," said Roland K. Bullard, II, senior executive vice president of First Fidelity Bancorporation. "Our two companies share a historic commitment to Center City Philadelphia and the belief that the Avenue of the Arts is the catalyst that will transform Broad Street into a dynamic cultural destination and a desirable corporate address."

"Choosing the First Fidelity Building is truly a significant decision for Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads," said the firm's chairman, Carter R. Buller. "We believe that this building and the office space we will be designing bespeak the quality of our Firm. The grandeur of the building and the craftsmanship it reflects just cannot be replicated today. In making our decision, we were strongly influenced by the commitment of First Fidelity Bancorporation to preserving this historic landmark. Our choice also underscores our confidence in the vitality that the Avenue of the Arts development is bringing to South Broad Street and to our city."

"Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads is a Philadelphia institution," said Mayor Edward Rendell. "Over the years the firm has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the business community here, to our cultural organizations and community groups, and for many decades to city government. Since I took office, Montgomery McCracken has been invaluable in representing Philadelphia -- often on a pro bono basis -- as legal counsel in its dealings with many of our labor unions."

He added, "I am extremely proud that this firm has shown confidence in the Avenue of the Arts development by deciding to relocate to the Fidelity Building. This is truly a magnificent building in a great setting. I echo Carter's and Roland's thoughts that as we proceed toward completion of the Avenue of the Arts, South Broad Street will again be known as a premier Philadelphia business address."

The Fidelity Building, designed by architect Edward P. Simon and built by general contractor Irwin & Leighton in 1928, was hailed at the time as a model of the marriage of modern construction technology with old world architectural and sculptural design and decorative detail, all of which is still visible. The general architectural decorative style is Italian Renaissance.

The exterior features a limestone facade on a granite base and the interior includes nearly 150,000 square feet of marble. The 2-1/2 story main banking floor is spanned by six 58-ton steel structural girders, the largest ever placed in a building in the Eastern United States at that time.

First Fidelity Bancorporation is among the nation's 25 largest banking companies and operates over 700 branch offices through its principal subsidiaries, Union Trust Company of Connecticut and First Fidelity Bank, N.A. in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

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/CONTACT: Barbara Nate of First Fidelity, 215-985-7003, or Lisa Chatburn of Montgomery, McCracken, 215-665-7290/

CO: First Fidelity Bank; Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU: RLE

MK-MF -- PH018 -- 0589 01/10/95 16:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 10, 1995
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