SJ Berwin scraps plans to rent space left vacant by Goodwin Procter

SJ Berwin has ditched plans to let out office space in its City headquarters after initially trying to find a tenant to occupy the unused floorspace.

Rob Day
Rob Day

The firm, which has roughly 4,500 sq ft of surplus space in its Queen Street Place base, has taken the rooms off the market following attempts to secure a replacement for former occupant Goodwin Procter.

SJ Berwin is understood to have encountered an element of difficulty letting out the space as it was considered too large for many prospective tenants and due to competition in the property market.

It has been unoccupied since Goodwin Procter moved to Tower 42 on 25 June, having been based in the UK firm’s building since 2009.

Managing partner Rob Day has cited the subletting as a factor enabling the firm to improve profitability (20 June 2011).

Day said in a statement: “The firm was in the latter stages of negotiating a sublet in London last year. However, we decided to take the London space off the market to allow us time to take stock and review our business needs in London. At present, our position has not changed.”

The change of plans come alongside SJ Berwin’s decision to move to larger stand-alone offices in Paris, with the firm leasing 3,500 sq m (37,700 sq ft) of space over four floors on the French capital’s Avenue des Champs Elysées.

It is planning to relocate from its present Avenue Kléber building by March next year, with the move following an 8 per cent hike in lawyer headcount in the city over the past year. The firm hired Knight Frank as its property agent.

Paris managing partner Christophe Digoy said: “We were looking for a prestigious address that would be suitable for our domestic and international clients and we felt that the Champs Elysées would be a prime location in the heart of Paris.”

Meanwhile, Simmons & Simmons is close to signing up a new tenant for its Ropemaker Street offices. The firm has been looking for a replacement since Pinsent Masons, which rented the sixth floor, moved out in February 2011 to transfer into its Crown Place headquarters.