Law firm Birketts prepares to move into Princes Street business quarter in Ipswich

Site visit to former Riley's Building in Princes Street Ipswich that is to be demolished to make way

Site visit to former Riley's Building in Princes Street Ipswich that is to be demolished to make way for a new office building for Birketts Martin Sylvester David Ellesmere, graham Humphry, Jonathan Agar, jane Riley, Colin Kreidewolf, Helen Pluck

One of the biggest employers in Ipswich has outlined plans for its new £12m headquarters in the heart of the town’s business district.

In a move that will see Birketts signing a 25-year deal with the borough council, the law firm will be right at the heart of the developing Princes Street business hub.

Its new offices, which should open at the start of 2018, should provide accommodation for more than 250 staff – and give the 153-year-old company real presence in its home town.

It will be based in a five-storey office block that is being built by Churchmanor estates with investment from the borough whose new investment company is putting up the £12m capital cost of the project.

Birketts will rent the building on a 25-year lease which will be the equivalent of a 1p saving on council tax rates.

Jonathan Agar from Birketts said it was important for the company to bring together its employees in a single location in Ipswich. He said: “We will be in modern, open-plan offices and have a real presence in the business centre of the town. We have modern offices in Norwich, Cambridge and Chelmsford and it is really good to work in.”

The company will employ 257 staff in its 50,000 square-foot Ipswich offices, nearly half its total workforce.

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Mr Agar said: “We are an East Anglia company but we are very much Ipswich-based and we are delighted that we will soon have a new headquarters in our home town.”

Demolition work has already started on the site that was previously Riley’s Pool Centre – and was originally the John Grose garage.

The new development will cement the Princes Street area as the business hub of the town – it is next to the Suffolk Life headquarters and near the new Connexions business centre.

Birketts is opposite the new offices for Archant – publisher of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.

When existing employers including Willis, Axa, and the government offices in St Clare House – along with council offices in Russell Road – are considered this part of the town now has more than 6,000 jobs associated with it.

And there is more to come – the former Drum and Monkey pub and garages are also due to be redeveloped for offices in the next few years. The borough is also looking for a new use for the former nightclub near the Princes Street bridge.

Council leader David Ellesmere said: “This is a real boost for the town and we are delighted to have been able to help Birketts with this significant development.”