LAW firm Shulmans has signed a deal to move into a ‘landmark’ new office development to be built in Leeds’ West End.
Work on 10 Wellington Place, a 35,000 sq ft five-storey building, is set to begin next month after Shulmans agreed to take around half the building on a 15-year lease.
Tim Halstead, managing partner of Shulmans, said: “We are delighted to be the first occupants of what will undoubtedly prove to be a landmark development in the city. Our move to 10 Wellington Place represents a significant investment for Shulmans and is reflective of our successful growth plans.”
Construction on the new building is expected to take a year. Shulmans, a £7.5m turnover firm, is currently based at 120 Wellington Street, Leeds, the lease on which ends next year.
Rick de Blaby, chief executive of MEPC, the property development and management firm behind Wellington Place, said: “Shulmans joins a great line-up of existing companies at Wellington Place, including BSkyB, Allianz, Towers Watson and PwC.
“There is something big going on in Leeds right now with the opening of Trinity, the completion of the new arena this autumn, and the Tour de France next year.
“With today’s news, MEPC is adding to this growing momentum within Leeds by providing great companies like Shulmans with an exemplary new workplace in the West End’s new urban quarter.”
Shulmans said it expects the building to be ready for occupation in the spring or early summer of next year.
Paul Fairhurst, director of Savills Leeds, which handled negotiations on behalf of Shulmans, said: “This is one of the first pre-lets in Leeds for many years; No 10 Wellington Place was identified as a very attractive opportunity to commit to, as it is a superb new building capable of being delivered in a challenging property market.” Jeremy Shulman, chairman of Shulmans, said: “Premises are a very important stimulus to growth, if they are the right premises, and we feel these are absolutely the right ones. We’ve got the opportunity with a new build to do exactly what we want in there.
“It’s effectively being built for us to glove into.”
Shulmans was established in the early 1980s and moved from a small office in York Place to its current premises around 12 years ago. Mr Halstead added: “I think we have come to a point in our life where we are ready for the next stage.
“It’s approximately the same size as we have here (at Wellington Street) but the lay-out will be much more efficient.”
Shulmans employs 120 people, which has gone up by a third in the last three years. Mr Halstead said: “We set out on our plan to grow the business by 50 per cent over five years (in areas such as turnover and people). We are at the end of the third year of that plan and we are exactly on target – just where we want to be.”
Planning permission was granted for 10 Wellington Place in September 2010 as part of a mixed use development on the site. That permission includes a further 106,000 sq ft of office space at 3 Wellington Place, 155,000 sq ft at 4 Wellington Place and a further 59,000 sq ft at 5 Wellington Place.
Mr de Blaby added. “We see the start of work on 10 Wellington Place as very much the first step towards developing the rest of the Wellington Place estate. We are already in talks with several potential occupiers for some of the other developments and look forward to being able to continue to build our business community.”
Shulmans also announced changes to its management team, to take effect on April 1, with founder Mr Shulman stepping down from the role of chairman and from the board. Mr Shulman will now be known as senior partner. He will be carrying out corporate finance and employment work, but will also have a role with the high net worth clients in the practice.
Simon Jackson and Rosemary Edwards, who are in charge of specialist teams, commercial property and residential development respectively, have been elected to the management board.
Richard Wadkin, a dispute resolution lawyer, Paul Beales, head of business support, and Mr Halstead are the other three members of the board.
Commercial property specialist Andrew Latchmore will no longer be on the board. Mr Halstead said: “He is going to focus his efforts on helping to develop further our real estate practice.”
Mr Shulman said it has been decided there will no longer be a chairman role.