Not downsizing just getting more modern: Bell Gully
Bell Gully says it is not cutting staff, despite doing away with one floor in Auckland's Vero Centre.
The law firm will occupy 5.5 floors of the 39-floor tower from November, rather than the 6.5 it is using currently.
The office space reduction has come as Bell Gully re-signed a new 12-year lease with Vero Centre owner Kiwi Income Property Trust for 6,514 sqm of space – 16% of the building’s rentable area.
Bell Gully says its giving away a floor because it is modifying the workspace for its lawyers.
Partner Jane Holland, who leads the firm’s property team, says technological changes – flat screen computers and digital document storage – mean there is not the same need for as much physical space at workstations.
Lawyers at the firm will still have private offices, as that meets a need to maintain client confidentiality, she says.
“But within that restraint we are adopting a more open-plan layout which is very much in keeping with current fit-out styles. In some instances that means we have moved to more compact workstations.
“Our primary goal was to modernize our workstations, delivering light and space and views to our people, wherever they sit on the floor. That has meant lowering partition levels and ensuring access to windows.”
Timing of the refit was prompted by the lease renewal date.
The firm says its not reducing staff numbers. Ms Holland says lawyers are being hired in some areas.
Bell Gully has been a Vero Centre tenant for 12 years.
KIP says it will complete planned refurbishment works to Bell Gully’s premises, including carpet and bathroom upgrades, as part of the new lease agreement.
Half of the space Bell Gully has given up has been leased to law firm Ellis Gould, which will occupy 597sq m from December 2012 on a new nine-year lease.