Wragges confident of City prospects with office growth

Wragges confident of City prospects with office growth” />Birmingham-based Wragge & Co is staging a fight-back in London, renting a third floor in its 3 Waterhouse Square building.

The move reflects optimism for the firm’s City operation, which has seen major setbacks in recent years.

Senior partner Quentin Poole said: “Ten years ago 80 per cent of our business came from the Midlands, 20 per cent from outside. Today 80 per cent of our business comes from outside and 20 per cent from the Midlands.”

The firm’s problems in London included the loss of IP head and London founder Gregor Grant to Marks & Clerk in February 2005. The firm said goodbye to Gerald Bland, chairman of the property group, which accounts for almost 30 per cent of total turnover.

However, Poole said that property, the firm’s biggest-earning group, will benefit most from the new London space, along with private equity, employment and pensions.

Poole vowed to make hires to fill the space. The new floor adds 11,500sq ft to the firm’s 28,500sq ft Holborn base, an increase of almost 40 per cent. The £1.5m rent will increase by 50 per cent to £2.25m.

Poole said the cheaper rent in Birmingham, at £22 per sq ft compared with £35-plus per sq ft in London, allowed for work won in the capital to be undertaken in Birmingham at lower rates.