12 March 2015 By Northern Lights
Leeds Law Society is leaving its historic home in the heart of the retail sector in a deal that will secure the future of the prestigious organisation and bring a major restaurant chain to the city.
After almost 100 years at 1 Albion Place in Leeds, the Law Society has agreed a long-term lease with the Bill’s restaurant chain that will see the Grade-II listed building sympathetically transformed into a top-class venue at the heart of the city’s leisure and retail district.
The undisclosed deal means the building is preserved as an asset for the society for the future and enables them to deliver more services to members and have a greater impact when campaigning on the key issues affecting the profession.
With member needs changing, the Leeds Law Society has agreed a 20-year lease in more modern and suitable premises at 62 Wellington Street, putting them at the centre of the professional services district.
Leeds Law Society President Philip Jordan, a partner at Ward Hadaway, says: “The legal profession has changed dramatically and the result is that 1 Albion Place is no longer suitable for meeting the evolving needs of our members. We are unable to use the majority of the space and the building has become a major burden on the finances of the society.
“We are working through a three-year strategy to transform the society and make it a dynamic and relevant organisation that delivers exactly what the members need. This deal is all about making sure we can deliver more to our members and guarantee that we can maintain our position as one of the most influential societies in the country.
“This secures the future of the society and does so much more for our members. As well as preserving this much-loved asset, it will support the city’s strategy for creating a vibrant leisure and retail destination that connects Trinity Leeds and the new Victoria Gate development.”
Founded in 1805, the Leeds Law Society has long been at the heart of the legal industry in the Leeds City Region, helping it to become the most powerful cluster outside of London. The new premises will enable the Leeds Law Society to host meetings and events for members and free up funding for a wider range of external seminars, networking events and other member benefits.
Bill’s restaurants offer contemporary European cuisine and serve food from breakfast through to evening meals. They are renowned for securing unique and interesting premises. The owners are committed to preserving the existing character of 1 Albion Place. A planning application for the conversion of the 5,600 square feet building has been submitted.
Philip Jordan says: “Bill’s are making a significant investment and they will be the perfect custodians of 1 Albion Place over the coming years. It continues to be one of our most important assets and is helping us to create a more modern, relevant and powerful society that can look to the future with far greater ambitions.”
A spokesperson for Bill’s says: “1 Albion Place is an iconic building and has a rich heritage as the beating heart of the legal profession in the region. It’s that heritage and character that attracted us to it and we will be preserving the building and celebrating its history as we give it a new lease of life as a major new leisure destination in the heart of Leeds.”
The Leeds Law Society was advised by law firm Irwin Mitchell and commercial property agency WSB on the deal.