The Government Office for the North West is close to taking 26,000 sq ft on two floors at Argent's Three Piccadilly Place in Manchester city centre.
GONW will relocate from six floors of City Tower into the new office if the deal is completed.
The public sector occupier will join the Highways Agency and law firm Weightmans at the new building, designed by Austin Smith Lord and due for completion in mid-2008. The quoting rent at the 200,000 sq ft Three Piccadilly Place is £25/sq ft.
The Carlyle Group acquired Argent's interest in Three Piccadilly Place and forward-funded the 120,000 sq ft Four Piccadilly Place during the summer, paying a reported £110m, after original buyer GE Capital pulled out. Other joint venture partners in Piccadilly Place include Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and Manchester City Council.
In total Piccadilly Place will provide 675,000 sq ft of offices, homes and a hotel along with ground floor shops and restaurants around a private piazza. The first phase included a 55,000 sq ft headquarters for the GMPTE and the 284 bed City Inn hotel.
The GONW move will mean that City Tower owner Bruntwood will begin the refurbishment of floors four to 19 when GONW's and the Highways Agency's leases come to an end in December 2008.
The refurbishment of these floors will mark the final phase of City Tower's redevelopment, which began late in 2004 when Bruntwood purchased the Piccadilly Plaza estate.
Peter Crowther, development director of Bruntwood, commented, "We've known since our acquisition of City Tower that both The Highways Agency and GONW have leases that come to an end in 2008. Whilst we would be disappointed to see them go, it provides an opportunity for us to bring these remaining floors up to the standard of office space we've already completed and let. If we have similar success with these floors as we have so far, with occupiers such as Sheppard Robson, Accuma, MVA Consulting and ourselves, City Tower will be thriving mix of businesses by the time we're finished."
GVA Grimley and Savills are advising Argent.