Walker Morris is to relocate to 33 Wellington Street, which is currently undergoing a £10m refurbishment to create a premium working environment.
The move will be the largest professional services relocation in the city for almost 15 years.
Walker Morris, which was advised by specialist property consultancy Fox Lloyd Jones, will move from its current locations split across two buildings on King Street into 76,000 sq. ft. of fully renovated, Grade A office space at the heart of the Leeds business district in summer 2019.
Once complete, the relocation will see all 500 of Walker Morris’ staff together under one roof, underlining the Firm’s position as the largest single site law firm outside London.
Malcolm Simpson, incoming managing partner of Walker Morris, said: “This is a very exciting time for the firm. Walker Morris is a fantastic firm, with the best people, superb clients and a great future.
“The move is a significant investment by the partners and underlines the confidence we have in our future growth plans for the firm.
“We are also investing heavily in our IT infrastructure, and the overall aim is to inspire our staff, and enable them to work more collaboratively and effectively; whether they are in the office, working remotely at home, with clients or on the move.”
The relocation comes on the back of a major workplace analysis exercise by Walker Morris in consultation with its employees, to explore ways in which they can work together, both now and in the future, to use space more efficiently, and deliver innovative client services.
The result is that the new Wellington Street offices have been specifically designed to provide an agile working environment.
Paul Fox, director of Fox Lloyd Jones, added: “As well as being the biggest professional relocation in Leeds in over a decade, this move delivers Walker Morris a rarely available self-contained HQ building off market, and has also enabled our team to input and influence the design and layout of the building to be delivered, which makes it feel bespoke and unique.”
“The building’s high profile location in the West End of the city where development and office take-up is soaring; and its accessibility to the amenities of Wellington Place, makes it a great platform for growth for the business.”
When complete, the refurbished building will also feature a floor to ceiling glass façade to the offices, and a south facing outdoor courtyard area, a unique asset to be used by both clients and employees.
Walker Morris has retained a dominant footprint within the region and is consistently ranked by Experian as one of the most active corporate law firms.
At the same time, the firm has invested in developing national leading specialist teams enabling it to win over 70% of its work from outside the region, including 20% from clients based overseas.
The property, which was bought by Knight Frank Investment Management for Lancashire County Council Pension Fund from MEPC in 2010 for £20 million, was occupied by PWC for 20 years before it moved to new headquarters in the city at Central Square in October 2016.
Eamon Fox, partner and head of office agency at Knight Frank in Leeds, said: “This is one of the most significant office deals in Leeds during the past 12 months.
“The property is a flagship office building in a superb city centre location and it is fitting it will be now be home to one of Yorkshire’s finest law firms.”
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