P3 Property Consultants has been appointed by Manchester-based law firm Pannone to advise on a search for new offices.
P3 was selected following a competitive pitch for the work of advising the 700 strong practice. Graeme Wood's Stratos PDI continues in a consultancy role, whilst P3 said it will be the market-facing agent for Pannone.
Pannone is currently based on Deansgate in Manchester city centre, occupying 91,494 sq ft in three adjoining but separate buildings: John Dalton House, owned by the Co-operative Group, 123 Deansgate, owned by former equity partners of Pannone and Lincoln House, owned by a pension fund.
Pannone's smaller office in London and satellite offices in Alderley Edge and Hale will be largely unaffected by this project.
Emma Holt, managing partner of Pannone, said: "The strategy will involve looking closely at our existing space as well as some alternatives. We expect the results of this initial exercise later this year. We are aware there is inevitable speculation in the local property market about an impending move but it is far too early to know what the outcome will be."
Peter Gallagher, founding partner of P3 Property Consultants added: "We are delighted to have been appointed by one of Manchester's top legal firms. We have worked on similar projects with a number of large practices in the professional and financial services sector over the years and know all too well the complexities of this sort of work. In today's market there will be no quick fixes or easy answers to some of the issues that will arise; we need to be clever and innovative and find a solution that works and is sustainable for both user and provider.
"Whilst the existing accommodation has served the practice well, there is now a clear desire within the Partnership to fully explore the current opportunities to consolidate, rationalise and improve the functionality, use and efficiency of the firm's city centre office headquarters.
"The next stage of this project is to carefully look at and challenge the use of existing space, accurately discern future needs and then formulate and agree an operating strategy for the identification, appraisal, acquisition and procurement of possible solutions."
The supply of quality space in Manchester city centre is running short: only 4 Piccadilly Place and the former Halliwells space at 3 Hardman Square could accommodate such a requirement today.
New build options if Pannone chose the pre-let route would include Spinningfields, 1 St Peter's Square and First Street.
Pannone could decide the cheaper secondhand option would be preferable if there is sufficient movement by Manchester's professional occupiers in the next couple of years. Financial advisor KPMG is in the market looking for between 70,000 sq ft and 80,000 sq ft of pre-let new space. KPMG's lease at St James Court is up in 2014.