Accountancy giant PwC officially assumes its status as the anchor tenant for Leeds’s newest office development today.
The firm’s more than 700 staff move over today into the Central Square development on Wellington Road, one of the most modern office buildings in the north of England.
Three years in the making, it features state-of-the-art technology throughout and is based around an iconic central atrium that includes a light installation to illuminate the city at night.
As well as housing businesses it will also be home to several retailers, with a Cafe Nero also opening today and other eateries and retailers including Marks & Spencer’s to follow suit in the ensuing months.
The move is a historic one for PwC who had previously been based in nearby Benson House for 20 years.
The developers of Central Square pro-actively approached PwC to become the principal tenants of the building and the firm’s senior management have been extensively involved in the development of the site.
“Benson House served us well but the time was right for us to move and to come into the 21st century.Arif Ahmad, senior partner
Bosses say that the Leeds offices will set the standard that will become the blueprint for all other UK PwC offices in the future.
Senior office partner Arif Ahmad has led the relocation.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “We knew the lease was coming up in 2016 and were looking at options. The prospective owners of the Central Square site wanted to acquire Leeds most iconic building and have PwC as anchor tenants.
“We worked closely with them and they were true to their word, I genuinely think is Leeds’s most iconic building.
“Benson House served us well but the time was right for us to move and to come into the 21st century.
“This will be the best equipped PwC office in the country, and I am proud to have that in Leeds.”
The move is more than just a relocation for PwC with the new offices set to impose a significant culture change within the business in Leeds.
The offices are almost completely open plan, with partners moving out of their offices and onto the floor.
“It is a very different way of working for us,” said Mr Ahmad.
“The open plan nature gives us a lot more capabilities and more opportunity to cross collaborate, a fancy way of saying people are working more closely together.
“Moving partners out of offices in professional services is a big thing. We have designed a new partner area, not offices, with an open plan desk and seating area, a big change for us culturally.
“Of the circa 700 people we employ in Leeds the average age is 28, they very much welcome it. I have taken a lead on this and for the last few weeks have been sitting out on the floor.
“Intangibly it makes you feel more accessible.”
With a main outside terrace to the front of the building adjacent to the client suite, and a number of other open terraces around the building, staff and visitors have the opportunity to work outside or just simply enjoy the Leeds skyline.
The Leeds offices will also form the basis of a number of PwC’s national schemes.
Space has been earmarked in the new building for the firm’s Retail Consumer National Centre of Excellence.
PwC’s Digital Hub will also be based on Leeds, as will its Entrepreneurial Hub.
While the offices are extremely high tech, the firm has gone to lengths to stamp our unique Yorkshire identity on all of the meeting rooms, with names such as Headingley and Rhubarb adorning the doors.