Fast-growing software firm relocates to Sheffield city centre

A fast-growing software company is moving into Sheffield city centre to help it attract staff.

By David.Walsh2
Thursday, 21st March 2019, 7:50 am

US-owned Ansys is moving into 3 St Paul’s Place on Norfolk Street to offer a more “dynamic” environment for workers and potential recruits.

The company, which makes simulation software, has been based on Sheffield Business Park since 2000.

It is one of a growing number of firms relocating into the city centre to take advantage of quality offices, amenities, public transport and ease of meeting people, including accountants Grant Thornton and French software firm Dassault Systemes.

Ansys employs 60 and is taking a floor-and-a-third, which offers room for up to 80. The move is scheduled to complete in August.

Richard Belcher, vice president of European finance, said the majority of Sheffield customers were near their office on Sheffield Business Park. But attracting and retaining staff was key - and the city centre was a big pull.

“Young graduates have a very different lifestyle than they did 20 years ago. And the quality of the office space and what’s available in the city centre is the main reason we are moving.

“We held a consultation about the move and it had a mixed acceptance. Those living in the west and centre were enthusiastic and those using the M1 were not so keen.

“I’m very excited, we have been here since 2000 and the decor was on trend 19 years ago.”

Ansys has five offices in the UK, is headquartered in Pennsylvania and has outlets worldwide. The firm had double digit growth in 2018.

Its software allows engineers to prototype new products ‘virtually’ making the process faster and cheaper. Its tools can simulate the effect of variables including electricity, radio signals, light and fluids.

Customers include the Redbull F1 team. It worked on the aerodynamics and structural integrity of its racing car.

The Sheffield office will be home to finance, sales, technical support and development staff, it will also have a training suite. The move will bring staff together on one floor.

3 St Paul’s Place was snapped up by London-based investment company M&G Real Estate for £24m in March last year.

Sam Jones, associate director, offices at M&G Real Estate, said: “The deal speaks volumes about the strength of the amenities on offer at 3 St Paul’s Place, an asset which meets growing demand for prime office space in the heart of Sheffield, which is currently in short supply.”

It was built by developers U+I and CTP with money from a basket of lenders including a £6.8m loan of public money. It is home to civil engineers Arup, architects BDP and HLM, Handelsbanken and lawyers Freeths.

Guy Cooke of BNP Paribas Real Estate said the equivalent of two of the 10 floors were still available, in parcels on the ground, first, fifth and seventh floors.

A lack of Grade ‘A’ accommodation is driving construction plans in Sheffield.

Last month The Star reported Kevin McCabe’s property company is planning to build an eight-storey office block on the Digital Campus on Sheaf Street. Scarborough obtained planning permission for Vidrio in 2016.

Now it has submitted an application to change the layout inside and include a roof terrace, better cycling facilities and showers. If approved in May or June, the firm could start on site the same month and open for business at the end of 2020.