Bird & Bird confirms new London HQ for 2016

Bird & Bird this week confirmed that it had signed up to one of the largest pre-lets ever handled by Great Portland Estates (GPE), a 12 storey, 142,500 sq ft new office space at 12/14 New Fetter Lane.

The firm has agreed to lease the whole of the building in a deal that includes an option to hand back up to 25,900 sq ft of space up to six months prior to practical completion.

Nabarro real estate partner Barry Morris led the firm’s team acting for GPE on the deal along with construction partner Alistair McGrigor. Simmons & Simmons real estate partner John Kelsey acted for Bird & Bird.

The deal is understood to see Bird & Bird pay £8.3m a year at an average of £58.80 per sq ft. The firm said the new space, which it will move into in 2016, would give it the opportunity to consolidate its operations and a high degree of flexibility to accommodate any future changes in scale.

“This is a hugely positive step for the firm which will bring numerous benefits,” said Bird & Bird CEO David Kerr. “The new site will provide a more modern and comfortable environment for our people in London, allowing for greater integration and collaboration between our staff and partners across the world. The arrangements enable us to make the move with minimal double overheads. Most importantly, the building will also offer a significantly improved client reception, hospitality and meeting space and will give us the opportunity to offer a range of facilities to our visiting clients.”

Bird & Bird chief operating office (COO) John Drake, who is spearheading the firm’s project team on the new building, said work on the project started around four years ago.

“Our current office is split over three buildings and all the leases run out in 2016,” added Drake. “Partners and staff alike have been keen for some time to get as many people as possible under one roof, to increase the effectiveness of interdepartmental working.”

Drake said Bird & Bird saw the new building as, “a very great opportunity to raise the profile of the firm” as a recognised leader in its main areas of law.

“We’ll use the project to drive all sorts of operational and client service improvements across the office and ultimately the firm,” Bird & Bird’s CO added.