Linklaters secures Bunhill Row lease for new offices

Linklaters & Alliance is taking on the lease of a 100,000sq ft office at 3 Bunhill Row, London EC1, adjacent to Slaughter and May‘s new Chiswell Street building.

Linklaters was advised in-house, with real estate partner Elizabeth Bennett leading the team. Construction partner Simon Burch also worked on the deal.

Bennett says that a final decision has yet to be made on the parts of the firm that will occupy the new premises, which could be ready within three years. Slaughters is expected to relocate to the Chiswell Street building this year.

Bennett worked in conjunction with Ashurst Morris Crisp on the transaction. Ashursts also advised Linklaters when it completed the deal for its Silk Street head office in 1995.

Bennett says: “People expect that you have hundreds of partners to report to. It’s not like that, but being the lawyer and the client is a slightly different experience. It’s harder in some respects. You have to make a decision, which you don’t when you are just the lawyer.

“But it’s terrific being so close to a project team. It gives you a great insight into what clients need.”

Clifford Chance partner Jonathan Solomon advised property company Helical Bar on the development’s pre-letting to Linklaters, sealing a new relationship with the longstanding Norton Rose client.

Solomon advised the property company on the granting of Slaughters’ lease for its new offices in January, his first deal for Helical Bar since leaving Norton Rose last October.

Gerald Kaye, a director at Helical Bar and the man behind the company’s City projects, opted to retain Solomon to advise on the 3 Bunhill Row development.

Solomon says: “There was a very strong logic that whoever acted on the first development should carry on, but it was not necessarily going to follow.” Helical Bar continues to instruct Norton Rose.

Helical Bar is funding the development, worth around £75m, from its own resources, but may now bring in an investor. “One of the reasons why Helical is a very successful company is that it doesn’t keep much stock on its books,” says Solomon.