US influx keeps demand high for City office space

An influx of US firms looking for further office space in the City is ensuring that the legal sector remains one of the most active in London’s office rental market.

More than 10 US firms have recently instructed the property management sector that they require new or further premises in either the City or Canary Wharf, with most looking for an average of 20,000-25,000sq ft.

Among those US firms looking for space are Bingham McCutchen, which is searching for between 30,000 and 35,000sq ft of extra office space, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, which wants a further 25,000sq ft, while Hunton & Williams wants between 15,000 and 20,000sq ft.

The interest comes despite the fact that the office rental market is predicted to rebound next year, which led many UK firms to move or enter into agreements on new premises earlier in the year.

One industry commentator said interest from the US firms meant that overall demand from the legal sector remained high, and could make up as much as a third of the current demand in
the City.

He said that, on average, US firms paid between £40 and £45 per sq ft and required offices with both visual impact and location. For example, Arnold & Porter’s and Kirkland & Ellis’s offices are both in Tower 42.

Other US firms understood to be looking for further office space are Arnold & Porter, Fulbright & Jaworski, King & Spalding, McDermott Will & Emery, Steptoe & Johnson and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

US firms’ London property hunt
Law firm Space required (sq ft)
Bingham McCutchen 30,000-35,000
Fried Frank 25,000
Kirkland & Ellis 20,000-25,000
King & Spalding 19,000
Hunton & Williams 15,000- 20,000
Fulbright & Jaworski 10,000-12,000
Source: The Lawyer