Accountancy giant KPMG is planning to move its Birmingham operation to a striking new city centre headquarters build-ing in a deal with developers Ballymore Properties which is the biggest of its kind for four years.
KPMG has named Ballymore's 3.65-acre £400 million Snow Hill site as the preferred location for its new base.
Both companies are now working to finalise the details of the agreement, which will be Birmingham city centre's largest pre-let since 2002.
The landmark agreement will see the UK's leading provider of professional financial services KPMG relocate its Birmingham operations from 2 Cornwall Street - where it has been for around 18 years - to Building One at Snow Hill, which will front Colmore Circus.
The firm will take occupation of the seventh to 11th floors of the multi-million pound mixed use scheme, giving it around 120,000 sq ft of Grade A office space.
The phased move of approximately 1,000 KPMG Birmingham-based employees is expected to take place in 2009 following completion of the building in late 2008.
It is not yet known what will happen to KPMG's existing building, which is also owned by Ballymore.
Mark Hopton, KPMG's regional chairman for the Midlands, said yesterday: "Follow-ing the decision to relocate to new premises, KPMG is now working with Ballymore Properties to tie-up this hugely significant pre-let deal."
He added: "Providing a safe, secure and first class workplace for KPMG employees is critical to outstanding teamwork and our ability to best serve our clients. We are delighted that Ballymore has been able to meet our very specific requirements at Building One.
"Birmingham and the surrounding region remains crucial to, KPMG's long term business aspirations and our confidence in Ballymore's ambitious vision for the regeneration of Snow Hill is compatible in our selection of this particular site."
Richard Probert, Ballymore's development manager for Snow Hill, said: "Birmingham city centre's last major pre-let agreement was at Brindleyplace with the Royal Bank of Scotland, which took place in 2002.
"Four years on, this imminent agreement with KPMG would not only represent a massive vote of confidence for the Snow Hill redevelopment scheme, but is also a huge boost in terms of the ongoing regeneration of the city.
"KPMG is a corporate heavyweight both regionally, nationally and on the international stage and that a company of this calibre has selected Snow Hill to house its largest office outside London is a great testament to our approach to this project.
"With virtually half of the building now set to be pre-let, we are entering into the initial stages of the build programme with a strong sense of purpose and excitement."
Since the redevelopment of Snow Hill Station in the 1980s, the land next to the station has been used as a car park.
However, when complete, the ambitious redevelopment of Snow Hill Queensway will feature more than half a million sq ft of high quality office accommodation in two distinctive buildings, which will each have floor plates of up to 25,000 sq ft. Some 200 residential apartments are also planned, along with retail and leisure space overlooking a new public plaza in front of St Chad's Cathedral.
A 'reserved matters' application has recently been submitted for Building One in accordance with the existing Outline Planning Consent and this is due to be considered by Birmingham City Council later this month. Major off-site infrastructure and road works are due to commence next month - with a start on the main site later in the year.
A new pedestrian 'Metro Boulevard' to the west of the scheme is proposed, which will act as a link to new public open space planned both within the scheme and in front of St Chad's Cathedral.
Ballymore says the overall redevelopment of the Snow Hill site will lead the next phase of city centre regeneration.