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After more than two years of construction, the skyline-altering 22-story office building at 222 S. Main St. in downtown Salt Lake City is now open for business.

Even at 425,000 square feet, it's neither the largest office building, nor the tallest. But it is arguably Utah's most environmentally friendly and state-of-the-art office tower.

The only problem for the 222 Main office building is in the timing -- it's casting for tenants during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Many office tenants that could afford to locate in a new, top-of-the-line building are staying put or cutting back.

"It could be a lot worse," said Bruce Bingham, a principal at the Chicago-area based Hamilton Partners. "We're grateful for the interest that people have had in the building."

Hamilton Partners chose CB Richard Ellis to act as the exclusive listing agent, which is expected along with the massive City Creek Center development two blocks to the north to contribute to a rebirth of Salt Lake City's downtown business district. CB Richard Ellis will occupy the 4th floor, which has about 13,000 square feet of space.

The building's anchor tenant will be the Denver-based law firm of Holland & Hart. The firm's Salt Lake City office has agreed to lease the building's top three floors, comprising approximately 67,000 square feet. Another law firm, Brinks, Hofer, Gilson & Lione, will occupy about 8,000 square feet on the 19th floor.

Those three tenants represent 20 percent of the available office space. Another 9,000 square feet of retail space is available in the lobby area.

Bingham said he's hopeful that the building could soon be at least 50 percent leased.

Speculation among those in the city's commercial real estate industry about a potential tenant has centered around Goldman Sachs, which operates at the University of Utah's Research Park but is looking for new, larger digs to accommodate an expansion. Bingham would not comment about prospective tenants.

The tower, directly south of the Hotel Monaco, is part of a new breed of office buildings. Most being built today have many environmentally friendly features or are certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED.

The Hamilton Partners tower is the first LEED-certified high-rise in downtown Salt Lake City and among only a handful of LEED-certified office buildings in the state.

To gain LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings must meet certain criteria focused on energy efficiency and using fewer natural resources during and after construction. Beyond a basic LEED certification, developers can seek the more involved silver, gold and platinum LEED status (each one being more involved and costly). Bingham said he has applied for gold status. "We're hoping for that, but we're confident of at least silver," he said.

Developers must pay a premium to construct a building suitable for some level of LEED certification. Bingham estimates that adding more-efficient heating and cooling systems and the host of other energy-efficient aspects of the building added about 1 percent to 2 percent to the total construction cost of approximately $125 million.

Although the building is being marketed at a difficult time, many in Utah's commercial real estate community believe 222 Main will do just fine.

Richmond said office vacancies in downtown are reasonable. And while the LDS Church has some office space planned in its City Creek development, any large high-rise that would compete for the same type of tenants wouldn't come on line until years from now.

"There is some pent up demand for quality office space in the downtown market," said Mike Richmond, an office specialist with Commerce Real Estate Solutions in Salt Lake City.