Morris James signs lease at new Avenue North high-rise


The Delaware law firm of Morris James has leased more than 40,000 square feet in the high-rise building at the Avenue North development near Wilmington.

The Philadelphia Business Journal first reported the transaction. The publication indicated that the law firm is vacating Class A space in downtown Wilmington as the high-rise moves toward full occupancy.

In February, Morris James announced it would take space at Avenue North while maintaining a presence in downtown Wilmington near Delaware courts.

A release stated, “This move signifies our dedication to honoring our storied history, while advancing toward a future of excellence and sustainability. Following a thorough evaluation of various options, including the possibility of remaining at our current headquarters, Avenue North emerged as the optimal choice. Its distinct blend of amenities, superior building quality, available space, and strategic geography make it the ideal setting for our continued growth.”

The release continued, “This forward-thinking step not only streamlines our physical space but also fosters a dynamic, agile hybrid work environment that caters to the evolving needs of our workforce and fortifies our position as a progressive industry leader,”


Jamie Vari, executive vice president of JLL, represented Delle Donne in the transaction.

Avenue North, the former research and administrative complex for AstraZeneca, is being redeveloped by Delle Donne and Associates as a mixed-use community with retail, office space, and apartments.

The site still houses AstraZeneca’s headquarters operations, with ChristianaCare, Delaware’s largest private employer, leasing a large block of space. Avenue North is also the headquarters for Solenis, a water chemical company.

The business journal also reported that Delle Donne will move its headquarters from the Newark area to the high-rise.

Delle Donne and Associates raised eyebrows by announcing a “spec” building in an office market that was on the soft side even before Covid-19, especially in downtown Wilmington. The trend accelerated due to a “hybrid” environment that stuck around after the pandemic, with staff coming to work a few days or a week or for occasional meetings.

Banks have been an exception to the rule. However, financial institutions tend to own their buildings and don’t have an impact on office occupancy rates.