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Wragge & Co decides on new HQ

22.04.08 Share


Wragge & Co LLP has signed up to new office premises in Birmingham. The firm will move into Two Snowhill, part of the city's £500 million gateway site being developed by Ballymore Properties, in 2011. It has secured up to 250,000 sq ft space over 11 floors at Two Snowhill on a 20-year lease with flexibility to accommodate up to 1800 people.

Ian Metcalfe, managing partner, said: "Choosing this quality and quantity of office space is a terrific vote of confidence from the partnership in the long-term success of our strategy, business model and growth plans. Frankly it's the biggest single financial commitment we've made in the firm's 174-year history, but is typical of our willingness to invest in the future of our business. Colmore Row has served us well, but the world class Two Snowhill will be the type of building our clients expect from a law firm of our standing and ambition."

Wragge & Co Managing partner Ian Metcalfe and Ballymore project director Richard Probert standing together infront of a model of the new Snowhill development.

Wragge & Co is the 25th largest law firm in the UK based on turnover (£112 million in 2007/2008) but 12th on the list of advisers to FTSE-100 and FTSE-250 according to the latest Chambers client report. The firm's business model is based on winning work in London, the South East and from international markets which is then delivered wherever clients demand, often by Birmingham lawyers at competitive rates.

Finding a new location for the firm's 1,000 plus Birmingham employees, currently working across three sites, has been a priority for Metcalfe since he was appointed managing partner in 2006. After 12 months of due diligence looking at a range of sites, the partners voted for Ballymore's Two Snowhill.

Ian Metcalfe: "We're one of the largest employers in Birmingham and comfortably the largest law firm. One of our strengths is our single team approach. Accommodating all our people in one city centre site has proved to be quite a challenge. However, it will be worth the wait for Two Snowhill, which is an absolutely stunning location in every sense. It will strengthen our reputation as an employer of choice."

Computer generated image of the new Snowhill development from an ariel view. Computer generated image of how the new Snowhill development will look. Computer generated image of the new Snowhill development looking down road straight at building.

Wragge & Co is 67th in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 2008 and appears in the Financial Times 50 Best Workplaces 2007. It is still the only law firm to feature on both lists since they began.

Ballymore Properties will provide 'shell and core' space by mid 2010. Employees will be invited to take part in a firmwide consultation to determine the interior specification and design. Ideas on the drawing board include a dedicated training suite, coffee bar and roof gardens. A shortlist of architects and designers has already been drawn up.

When complete, the ambitious redevelopment of Birmingham Snow Hill Queensway will deliver in excess of 1 million sq ft of high quality office accommodation; in two distinctive buildings each with floor plates up to 25,000 sq ft. Wragge & Co is taking up to 11 of the 14 floors of Two Snowhill, a building which totals 320,000 sq ft. Two hundred residential apartments are also planned along with retail and leisure space and a 5-star Westin spa hotel. Last year KPMG signed up to take 120,000 sq ft in One Snowhill.

Wragge & Co has recruited a new head of facilities, Penny March, to manage the move logistics. March has previously masterminded office moves for Mayer Brown, Cooper & Lybrand and KPMG.

The firm currently employs 1197 people, including 658 fee earners, of which 107 are partners. 1033 people work in Colmore Row, while 164 work out of Waterhouse Square in London.

Wragge & Co was founded in Bennett's Hill, Birmingham in 1834. As the firm has grown it has taken various premises in the city moving into Colmore Row in 1992. In 2000 the firm's merger with niche IP firm Needham & Grant paved the way for Wragge & Co's London presence. In 2003 the firm moved into offices in Waterhouse Square where it now occupies 46,967 sq ft.

Real estate partner Robert Caddick assisted by solicitor Matthew Walker, with construction director Paul Green and insurance partner Mark Hick have been leading negotiations with Ballymore's legal advisers Michael Stancombe and Daniel Norris from Lovells. Geoff Thomas of DTZ and Nigel Britten of ATISReal have advised Wragge & Co on all commercial and procurement aspects.

About Ballymore

Ballymore is an international property development, investment and property management group, specialising in large scale mixed use developments in urban areas. The company has principal offices in Dublin and London together with offices in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, France and Hungary.

Ballymore has a growing hotel portfolio with the Radisson Edwardian New Providence Wharf Hotel having opening in 2007 and a Kempinksi and Sheraton hotel on-site in Prague and Bratislava respectively, and several additional hotel proposals in the pipeline.

Founded 25 years ago by Sean Mulryan, Chairman of Ballymore, the company has grown rapidly in recent years.

Ballymore now has more than 50 projects in various stages of development in Europe and around the world.

For further information about this press release, contact Kathryn Hobbs on +44 (0)121 685 2785, Rebecca Davies on +44 (0)121 685 3819 or Gayle Redding on +44 (0)121 685 2708

This press release may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not give legal advice.

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