Posted on Mar 27, 2018 by Natalie Phillips
Leading law firm, Walker Morris, is to relocate to 33 Wellington Street, Leeds – a move that will be the largest professional services relocation in the city for almost 15 years.
The building is undergoing a comprehensive £10 million refurbishment to provide a premium working environment for Walker Morris with significantly improved sustainability credentials.
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, commented:
"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."
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.”
The relocation commitment 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 designed to provide an agile working environment; with a hybrid of open, private and meeting areas; which will engender collaboration, and support flexible and seamless team working for the Firm’s multidisciplinary client teams.
When complete, the refurbished building will also feature a floor to ceiling glass façade to the offices, and a unique south facing outdoor courtyard area, which the Firm sees as a great and unique asset to be used for both client and employee events. The move will be underpinned by a number of ongoing IT infrastructure investments, all of which have been preceded by a multimillion pound investment in a new practice management system during 2017.
Walker Morris has a distinctive strategy, operating from a single site centre of excellence in Leeds from which it services its national and international client base. The Firm 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 per cent of its work from outside the region, including 20 per cent 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 PWC moved to new headquarters in the city at Central Square in October 2016.
Eamon Fox, Partner and Head of Office Agency at global property consultancy Knight Frank in Leeds, who advised KFIM, commented:
“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.”
John Styles of Knight Frank Investment Management explained:
“We are delighted to have collaborated with Walker Morris on this pre-let which significantly de-risks the refurbishment project for the Fund, will generate an attractive investment return and will create a very secure long term asset. The refurbishment is consistent with the Fund’s investment return objectives and also its Environmental, Social and Governance policy which promotes the re-positioning of property assets as opposed to wholesale re-development.”
Construction work on the Wellington Street property has started through appointed contractor GMi Construction and it is expected that building will be handed over to Walker Morris for internal fit-out in early 2019. Fox Lloyd Jones is retained to project manage the internal delivery phase and internal design workshops are ongoing.
Jan 21, 2020
FLJ, acting on behalf of Walker Morris, acquired an overriding lease over the whole of the 76,000 sq ft landmark building in 2018, and project-managed the delivery of the new offices through to completion.
Jan 06, 2020
Our team is experienced, focused, discreet and motivated by results
Aug 21, 2019
Chartered surveyor, Nick Salkeld, has returned to Fox Lloyd Jones as a Director in the agency and development team. Working alongside Paul Fox, he will help build upon the company’s successes and add value into the next stage of development.
Jun 18, 2019
We are looking for Trainee Graduate Surveyor to assist our Construction Team in providing Quantity Surveying, Project Management and Building Surveying services whilst developing their skills.
Apr 11, 2019
Leeds-based Fox Lloyd Jones has concluded the procurement phase of the £155m retail and food leisure development at Fosse Park in Leicester, on behalf of its client The Crown Estate.
Dec 07, 2018
Leeds-based commercial property agents, development advisors and project managers, Fox Lloyd Jones, has expanded its team to cater for new instructions and increased work from existing clients.
Nov 07, 2018
Leading law firm Walker Morris took a further step closer to moving into their new flagship 76,000 sq ft premises after appointing a specialist fit out company
Sep 26, 2018
Fox Lloyd Jones, acting as development manager for YP Real Estate, has awarded the build contract for the first phase of the long-awaited development of the former Yorkshire Post site in Leeds to ISG.
Sep 19, 2018
A speculatively built 25,000 square foot industrial unit in Melmerby, near Ripon has been let, prior to completion, to I’Anson Brothers Limited, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of animal feedstuffs.
Aug 16, 2018
After sixteen years in Otley, full service brand communications agency, Ponderosa, has moved to new offices in a fast-evolving part of Leeds City Centre, as it targets ambitious growth and rapid job creation.