Halliwells buyers select Manchester bases

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, the insurance law specialist that acquired Halliwells' Manchester practice, has signed a lease for 31,000 sq ft at Chancery Place.

BLG already has a presence on the 11th floor of Chancery Place and will now take space in addition to this on floors one to four. Place understands a deal was agreed on a ten-year lease for a rent in the region of £26/sq ft.

The 101,000 sq ft building is owned by an Irish special purpose vehicle of investors having been developed by Blue Cube, also of Ireland. There are now 45,000 sq ft remaining to let at the building.

James Evans, director of office agency at Savills, joint letting agent on the building, said: "We are delighted to see an internationally recognised firm like Barlow Lyde & Gilbert take space within the building and regard it as testament to the quality of the space on offer."

Jones Lang LaSalle and insurance giant Travelers are also tenants in Chancery Place.

Meanwhile, law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing is in advanced negotiations to lease around 30,000 sq ft at Ship Canal House on King Street with landlord Catalyst Capital.

HBJ acquired several divisions and more than 200 staff from Halliwells following its collapse and is opening a Manchester office for the first time. The firm is understood to be seeking a deal at around or even sub £20/sq ft at Ship Canal House, where rents were quoted at £28/sq ft at the peak of the market.

Jones Lang LaSalle advised BLG. Jones Lang LaSalle and Savills are letting agents on Chancery Place. GVA Grimley and CB Richard Ellis advise Catalyst Capital. King Sturge is advising HBJ.

There is up to 180,000 sq ft of former Halliwells space coming to market at 3 Hardman Square following the law firm's dissolution. The building in Spinningfields is owned by Credit Suisse.

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Given that both firms have created "sub-LLPs" for the ex-Halliwells businesses they acquired, it would be more interesting to find-out what security requirements the landlords are looking for.

By Mr Sunshine

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