Law firm commits to the city as it agrees move to new £85m development

The new £85m City Square House

Global law firm, DLA Piper has made a long term commitment to Leeds by agreeing to take 80,000 sq ft of prime office space at a new 12-storey development

The firm which has done a deal with developer MRP, will relocate around 600 staff to the new City Square House development from its two Leeds sites, West One and Princes Exchange – the latter of which is 207 ft away from the firm’s new home.

Andrew Dyson, Leeds office managing partner, DLA Piper

Andrew Dyson, Leeds office managing partner at DLA Piper, said: “Leeds is an integral part of DLA Piper and our move to City Square House reflects our long-term commitment to the city.”

He added that by designing a new “state-of-the-art” and sustainable working environment the firm was focused on bringing its people together under one roof while also ensuring it can continue to attract the best talent into the region.

The development which will will be constructed on behalf of MRP by McAleer & Rushe is located on Wellington Street in Leeds city centre, close to both Leeds city station and the recently-revamped Majestic, on a site currently occupied by a car park.

Work is expected to start in May, with DLA expected to move into the new building in 2024 following completion and a fit-out that will create “best-in-class workspace”.

The finished development has been described as meeting “the needs of the post-coronavirus era” by blending technology, open plan design and a roof garden. It will feature large flexible floorplates of just over 15,000 sq ft, upper level terraces and a double height reception area, with exterior glazing designed to act as “a pleasing complement to the classical façade of the neighbouring Majestic”.

Angus Monteith, property director at MRP, commented: “We are confident in the opportunities this major £85m development will present to the city of Leeds which will act as a catalyst for future investment.

“We are delighted to secure DLA Piper as the anchor tenant for City Square House, a global law firm with such a strong local history.”

The council has also hailed the announcement as a “vote of confidence” in its drive to redevelop one of the key gateway areas of the city. Describing the news as an “ideal illustration of how the business sector – like the rest of Leeds – stands ready to bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Schemes like City Square House will form part of a Leeds-wide effort to ensure our economy recovers from the pandemic in a way that leaves no one behind.

“It also offers a timely reminder that Leeds is very much open for business, despite the huge challenges posed by Covid-19.”

Roger Marsh OBE DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, added: “This announcement recognises the strength and expertise of our region’s thriving legal sector, which is the largest outside of London.

“More than 1,500 legal companies are based here, including over a quarter of the UK’s top 100 law firms.

“The sector is a major employer, with more than 14,400 jobs – or one in four legal sector roles in the north of England – and adds around £1bn to our economy.”

Eamon Fox, partner at property consultancy Knight Frank in Leeds, advised DLA Piper on the deal.