Covington & Burling, one of the city’s largest and most prestigious law firms, has signed a letter of intent to move its global headquarters from Pennsylvania Avenue to CityCenter DC, the law firm said Wednesday.

Covington has more than 500 lawyers in Washington and has been looking for around 400,000 square feet, making it one of the largest and most valuable leases in the region. The developers of the $950 million CityCenter project, including Hines, Archstone and the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, were competing with other developers for the lease.

Rebecca Carr, head of public relations for Covington, said the law firm has signed a letter of intent to negotiate a lease for 415,000 square feet of office space in CityCenter. The law firm plans to move into the new space in 2014, she said.

The law firm had issued a statement in February saying that although it was happy with its offices at 1201 and 1275 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, “the neighborhood around us has evolved in dynamic ways, and there are some interesting new developments and upcoming opportunities in the property market in the Penn Quarter and East End.”

The relocation of a major law firm off of Pennsylvania Avenue to the CityCenter site, located on the footprint of the city’s former convention center between 9th and 11th streets NW, would further solidify the eastern end of downtown as a hot destination for employers. Living Social has multiple offices in the area and the American Association of Medical Colleges is building its new headquarters on the 600 block of K Street NW.

Construction at CityCenter is running about one month ahead of schedule. It is currently six stories above grade with completion scheduled for July of 2013. The developers previously nearly landed another law firm for the space, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, before those negotiations fell through. It had also discussed the space with Arnold & Porter.

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