Grant Thornton has made one of the largest investments in Birmingham’s professional services sector in recent years by expanding into the city’s Colmore Plaza.
The chartered accountants is relocating from its current Edmund Street office, taking a 15-year lease on the entire 12th floor at Colmore Plaza, as well as 4,000 sq ft of space on the 11th.
David Munton, managing partner in the region, said the move was part of a multi-million pound investment that would see its 240-strong Birmingham team grow by 10 per cent in the next year.
The move will increase the firm’s total floor space in the city from less than 21,000 sq ft at its Edmund Street office to almost 27,000 sq ft and Mr Munton said despite tough economic conditions, he believed there were sufficient signs of confidence returning to firms to justify expansion plans. The firm, which has 11 partners in the city, plans to start its expansion by strengthening its tax team in the new year.
Mr Munton said: “There are two main reasons – first of all we had an opportunity to move given the conditions of our current lease, but more importantly, we want more staff.
“We want to give our staff a fantastic working environment and we are growing the firm both locally and nationally.
“The growth is in all aspects of the business – audit, tax and advisory.
“We have been growing through selected investment and we have made some quite senior recruitments over the last 12 months, like David Hillan, our new corporate tax partner, and we are strengthening our tax team in the new year with some new recruits from the big four.”
The firm will move into Colmore Plaza next June after agreeing the move with global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group.
Grant Thornton will consolidate the bulk of its operations on one floor, and joins other tenants including Amey, Williams de Broe, Davis Langdon, Orega and Aedas.
Mr Munton told the Post while the eurozone crisis remained a stumbling block for transactions, there were opportunities for the firm. He said: “What has happened over the last three or four years is the ability to predict and forecast has become much more difficult. Where we are working with clients on opportunities they are taking longer than in the past because of the uncertainty and lack of confidence in the economy, but I think confidence is creeping back up again and there is an appetite for activity to increase.”
He added: “Certain areas of tax are presenting a very large opportunity for us. We are also beginning to see more opportunities on the transactions side.
“We are lucky at Grant Thornton in that we have got a fantastic client base which has weathered the storm and are looking for opportunities both in the UK and globally.”
Mark Harris, director at the Carlyle Group, said: “As our latest tenant, Grant Thornton will complement an existing strong line up of professional services businesses and we are pleased to welcome them to Colmore Plaza.
“We believe that the building is ideally placed to benefit from the ongoing demand from potential occupiers for quality Grade A space in the region, particularly given the quality of the office space that is on offer and the high level of service that is provided to our occupiers.”