Sheffield law firm moves 350 into Heart of the City

A law firm is moving 350 people into the Heart of the City II in a multi-million pound boost for Sheffield city centre.

Sunday, 22nd December 2019, 2:18 pm
Mark Haywood of CMS.

CMS has signed a 20-year lease on space in the HSBC building on Wellington Street, guaranteeing its long-term future in the city.

Staff are expected to relocate from offices on Park Square roundabout in in autumn next year, coinciding with the firm’s 30-year anniversary in Sheffield.

It means the building, officially called Grosvenor House, will be full, delighting council chiefs who are bankrolling the £480m Heart of the City II scheme with taxpayers’ cash.

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Opening of Sheffield's new Weekday store and views of Grosvenor House. Picture Scott Merrylees

Mark Haywood, partner and head of the North at CMS, said it reaffirmed their commitment to Sheffield “in the most tangible way possible.”

He added: “CMS has grown by more than 20 per cent in the North over the last 18 months as we embrace the opportunities this vibrant region offers with significant partner hires.

“These are exciting times for our Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield teams.”

Nalin Seneviratne, the city council’s director of city centre development, said it was a vote of confidence in the HoC II scheme and would create a buzz in the bars, restaurants, shops and hotels set to be constructed.

Grosvenor House. Picture Scott Merrylees

“CMS, along with HSBC, brings a wide range of people, long-term into the city centre.

“The office space is now fully let, and we have secured Monki, Weekday and Marmadukes in the ground floor units that are more suited to the type of specialist retail, and food and drink occupiers that want to be within this quality scheme.”

CMS is taking space HSBC did not want and ‘some larger retail units’. The office will be self-contained, have its own entrance on Wellington Street and its own address: 1 Charter Row.

Paul Sargent, chief executive of the council’s development partner Queensberry said the move was another step towards a new financial and professional services district.

He added: “Our ambition has always been to deliver a new commercial district that can evolve over time in line with the wider region’s economy – this is a great example of the way that strategy is becoming a reality.”

Sheffield City Council took over from Hammerson after the developer worked on a previous scheme for 10 fruitless years.

Since then an £80m headquarters for HSBC has gone up and land on Wellington Street has been sold for flats. About £200m has been spent so far.

The full HOC2 scheme is set to cost £470m, paid for with cash from the government’s Public Works Loan Board.

Mr Seneviratne said previously it should be repaid by 2038.

But the project was already regenerating the city centre, creating jobs and boosting council coffers, which had received “millions” from the land sale and rent from HSBC.

He added: “This is an investment, it’s not dead money and ultimately we will get a return.

“We are borrowing to deliver. To pay it off we will either sell the buildings or retain them if the income exceeds the borrowing costs.”

The risk of failing to find occupiers was being mitigated by taking a block by block approach, he added.