International law firm Pinsent Masons has advised Leeds City Council on the largest office pre-let deal in Leeds city center in more than 20 years. The Council has agreed a 25-year lease for ca.170,000 ft² (approx. 15,793 m²) at the new and refurbished Merrion House building owned by Town Centre Securities. The building will undergo a complete refurbishment and addition of a new 50,000 ft² (approx. 4,645 m²), six-story extension.
Additionally, the Council’s existing long-term lease arrangement on Merrion House will be replaced by a new 25-year agreement. As part of the new deal, the building will become jointly owned by Leeds City Council and Town Centre Securities PLC.
The agreement, which is subject to planning approval, would see staff numbers in the new Merrion House increase from 1,200 to 1,900 and allow the council to retain a maximum of four key city center office buildings with the others being Civic Hall, Enterprise House and St George’s House.
Council staff will vacate at least 13 other buildings within the city, bringing the number at Merrion House from 1,200 to 1,900. This is being achieved under the council’s changing the workplace program, adopting flexible and modern new working methods and environments to improve efficiency.
The Pinsent Masons team, led by property partner Anne Bowden, comprised Arthur Lovitt (Property), Michael Walby and Catherine Hemsworth (Corporate), John Christian (Tax), Jo Falencka and Laura Tetlow (Construction).
Commenting on the deal Anne Bowden said: "We are delighted to have advised the Council on this landmark deal. It ticks many boxes for Leeds: enabling the Council to provide enhanced access for the public to all the main council services, further development of the Arena Quarter, as well as efficiencies and long term cost savings."