Contact Us

New But Smaller HQs On The Way As Law Firms Relocate In London

Great Portland Estates' 2 Aldermanbury Square scheme has been pre-let by Clifford Chance.

Two major law firms have signed up for new headquarters in London, taking new space, but downsizing from their existing buildings. 

Clifford Chance and Great Portland Estates confirmed that the legal giant will pre-let the entire 321K SF at GPE’s 2 Aldermanbury Square development in the City of London. 

Clifford Chance's agreement will see it lease the lower ground to 12th floors, on separate 20-year leases, with options to break at year 15. The firm has additional options to break at year eight on the fourth floor and year 12 on the fifth floor, and to hand back the first to fourth floors of the building, up to 89K SF, which expire on 1 March 2024. 

The firm will pay an initial rent of £77 per SF, assuming no space is handed back, and will benefit from 38 months rent-free over the 15-year terms, with a further three months rent-free in the event those leases are not broken.

The 321K SF leased in the City is less than half of the 700K SF the law firm occupied in Canary Wharf, highlighting the trend of companies taking less space, but paying a higher average price. Rents in Canary Wharf typically top out at £50 per SF.

Elsewhere in London's legal landscape, Reed Smith has signed to pre-let 127K SF at British Land’s Norton Folgate development on the border between the City and Shoreditch. That is 25% less than the 170K Reed Smith leased at another British Land building in nearby Broadgate

The deal sees Reed Smith take more than a third of the 340K SF space at Norton Folgate, a mixed-use scheme made up of eight buildings, including a mix of shops, bars and restaurants alongside offices. The scheme also includes renovated industrial warehouse space.

Rental details were not disclosed.