Architect moves staff into £20m office block

The architect behind a £120m biomass power plant has moved its 70 staff into a new city centre office block.

Andrew Smith, head of BDP's Sheffield studio, and Jonathan Gale, of CTP
Andrew Smith, head of BDP's Sheffield studio, and Jonathan Gale, of CTP

BDP, which designed the landmark Blackburn Meadows plant in Sheffield for E.ON, has relocated to 3 St Paul’s Place.

The award-winning architecture practice took 8,178 sq ft of space - the whole of the sixth floor - on a 10-year lease at the 10-storey building.

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The firm joins civil engineering firm Arup, which occupies the top two floors, and Swedish bank Handelsbanken.

The rent, at £23.50 per sq ft, is the highest in the city.

BDP is an international architecture practice with six offices in the UK. It was recently selected to restore London’s Palace of Westminster.

It relocated its Sheffield team to the £20m building from No.1 North Bank, where it has been based for the past 10 years.

Andrew Smith, head of the Sheffield studio, said: “It was an easy decision for us to make the move to 3 St Paul’s Place as it’s a great space with well proportioned, column-free floor plates providing very good daylight and views.

“It’s also in a brilliant location in the very heart of the city, benefitting from the full range of Sheffield’s amenities and the city council’s investment in high quality public realm, particularly the area around the Peace Gardens, as well as the important route from the train station via Howard Street.”

He added: “The new studio will incorporate onsite cycle storage and shower facilities to accommodate the high percentage of staff who cycle to work and exemplifying the practice’s commitment to sustainability.”

No.3 St Paul’s Place, which completed in 2016, is the first speculative office space in Sheffield to be built since the recession.

Developed by CTP and U+I and built by Bowmer & Kirkland, the building is the final part of the £130m Heart of the City project.

David Topham, director of Manchester-based CTP, said: “BDP’s decision to relocate to 3 St Paul’s Place is a pleasing endorsement of our development.

“It is also extremely encouraging that a company with BDP’s reputation for quality, innovation and excellence has chosen our building as their base in Sheffield.”

He added: “There is now strong interest in the remainder of the building and we look forward to announcing new tenants shortly.”

Last month it was revealed that the council has granted the developer extra time to fill the mostly empty building.

The council hopes to avoid having to buy the building itself. In 2013 the authority agreed to purchase the block one year after completion, unless the company decided to keep the property or sell it on at a higher price.

Mr Topham said he was confident by next March the building would be ready for sale, ‘and the council’s covenant, which has secured the building’s investment, will not be called on’.

The firm is also pressing ahead with 4 St Paul’s Place - the next phase of the office quarter - and expects to announce plans later this year.

Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at Sheffield City Council, hailed the letting to BDP as another important milestone for 3 St Paul’s Place.

He said: “This building and others close by are setting new standards for office accommodation which has appeal to inward investors and indigenous businesses alike.”

The construction of 3 St Paul’s Place went ahead following a landmark agreement between CTP and U+I the specialist regeneration developer and investor, with Sheffield City Council and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

3 St Paul’s was paid for by a ‘basket’ of lenders, including £6.8m of public money.