WBD plans its move to NEWCASTLE helix

Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD), the largest law firm in the North East, has announced it will be moving its two Newcastle offices to a new and improved workspace at the Newcastle Helix.

In a move planned for 2022, WBD’s Newcastle office of around 450 professionals will take up to 47,500 square feet in The Spark, a building currently under construction at Newcastle Helix, a landmark 24-acre innovation quarter in Newcastle’s city centre. Newcastle Helix is a unique partnership between Newcastle City Council, Legal & General and Newcastle University, bringing together industry leaders, businesses, and top researchers into this internationally renowned innovation cluster. It is already home to many companies including leading tech and science businesses and offers flexible and innovative workspace solutions.

WBD has a strong history of supporting Newcastle Helix and recently advised Newcastle City Council on its joint venture with Engie to develop low carbon district energy infrastructure projects, including the district green energy scheme at the heart of Newcastle Helix.

Ben Rodgers, Head of Regeneration at LGIM  Real Assets, said: “This deal demonstrates the continued demand for smart and adaptable “future” office space, despite the challenging times we are in. As we prepare for economic recovery, businesses like ours must continue to invest in our future and it is more important than ever that we deliver place-led urban regeneration schemes that our society needs, whether that be flexible new office space, housing or necessary transport infrastructure. We are excited to welcome WBD to Newcastle Helix, becoming part of our inspiring new community.”

Councillor Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Employment and Culture at Newcastle City Council added: “In challenging times Newcastle Helix is playing a vital role in the recovery of our economy – fostering innovation, attracting businesses, and creating jobs for those who live and work in our city. We are delighted that WBD will be part of our vision to help people live smarter and healthier lives.”

“This move signals confidence for the future and emphasises the demand for ‘offices of the future’ as business adapt to new ways of working and collaborating. It isn’t just about the quality of the design and build businesses are looking for, it’s unique eco-systems that foster collaboration and support healthy workplace cultures – making Newcastle Helix the perfect fit.”

The move to new offices was announced by WBD real estate partner and newly appointed office head Nigel Emmerson. He commented: “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, WBD is committed to playing its part in the economic recovery of the North East by leveraging our breadth of resource, expertise and transatlantic connections so the North East can continue to be amongst the best places in the UK to live, work and do business.”

“The pandemic has challenged conventions of office working and is pushing businesses to adopt more flexible and innovative working styles. We’re looking forward to our move to the Newcastle Helix which offers a collaborative ecosystem for public and private companies and is considered a hub of innovation in Europe. As a firm dedicated to embracing and driving innovation in the legal sector, the new space is a perfect fit for us.”

Nigel added: “We trace our roots in the city back to 1786. Our move to the Quayside in 1998 was transformative for our business and we hope the move to The Helix in 2022 will have similar results. We are very proud of our history but incredibly excited about our future.  The office move reaffirms our commitment to the region and to Newcastle city centre; a thriving Newcastle is vital to the health of the North East and we intend to play our part in its future.”

WBD has deep roots in the region and is committed to playing its part in the future prosperity of the North East and Cumbria by using its local, national and international reach and expertise to benefit the region’s leading sectors, businesses, people and organisations. The firm is a member of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse Partnership Programme, demonstrating its commitment to promoting the strengths of the North, and actively collaborates with the local branch of the CBI and the North East Chamber of Commerce on a range of initiatives.

WBD is a transatlantic law firm, providing high-quality legal capability and outstanding personal service to a wide range of regional, national and international clients from 27 key locations across the UK and the US. In addition, it has a growing global network in over 120 countries through its exclusive relationship with Lex Mundi, the world’s largest association of independent law firms.

The search for new office accommodation and lease negotiations were conducted for WBD by BNP Paribas Real Estate. Cushman & Wakefield advised Legal & General.

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