About 5 floors for lease in Chase Tower

A big chunk of downtown Lexington office space has gone on the market.

A little more than 100,000 square feet, or about five floors, at Chase Tower at 201 East Main Street is now empty, said Al Isaac, president of the commercial real estate firm NAI Isaac. The space was left over after Chase Bank announced in October 2007 that it would dismantle its Lexington regional loan center and eliminate 430 jobs.

Chase Tower, with 15 floors and about 240,000 square feet of space, has been a bank headquarters since First Security Bank moved into the building in 1973.

Having that much office space in one chunk is a rare occurrence in Lexington, Isaac said.

"To me, it represents a terrific opportunity," he said.

Although there is a chance the space could be leased to a single tenant, it's more likely to be divided among three to five tenants, he said.

Demand for Lexington office space is soft because of the national economy, leading to reduced rent rates, Isaac said.

Last year, Class A office space was going for $19.93 a square foot downtown and $18.42 in the suburbs. It now averages $17 a square foot, according to the Isaac company's mid-year survey. Space in Chase Tower ranges from $16 to $18.50 a square foot, according to NAI Isaac's Web site.

A Chase spokeswoman said the bank intends to keep its remaining Lexington operations headquartered in the building.

"We are still in the tower," Nancy Norris said. "Our administrative offices are still there, and our branch is still there, and we don't have any plans to change that."

Chase also retained naming rights to the tower.

When it opened in 1973, the building was the second-tallest in Lexington and one of the first buildings in Lexington to be sheathed in precast concrete.

In 1992, First Security was acquired by Bank One in a merger. Then Bank One was acquired by J.P. Morgan Chase in 2004, and Chase became the tower's main tenant.