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Bradford
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Preparations underway for Price Waterhouse Cooper’s move to flagship city centre office building

Bradford’s newest office building has been described as “fit for the future, not just fit for now” by its main tenant.

One City Park will finally welcome its first workers this August when Price Waterhouse Cooper moves its 200 strong Bradford workforce to the building.

In the coming years the multinational company, which is leasing two floors of the building, aims to expand to up to 500 staff.

One of the company’s senior partners, Andy Ward, spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service this week, and said they decided to move to the flagship office because they wanted a space at the heart of the city’s regeneration.

PWC opened its first office in Bradford in 2019, with 60 staff based at space on Godwin Street leased by the company.

That has since risen to almost 200 workers.

Earlier this year PWC was announced as the anchor tenant for One City Park, a £35 million Grade A office building that has been one of Bradford Council’s main city centre regeneration projects in recent years.

The Council has said the building, part funded through the Government’s Getting Building fund, was needed due to a lack of quality office space in the city centre.

But the scheme has divided opinion, with opposition Councillors and many Bradford residents questioning public money being spent on office space when there were multiple empty units in the city.

Although the two floors to be occupied by PWC are currently being fitted out, the building’s striking ground floor lobby is complete.

The space will be shared by all businesses based in the building, and features meeting areas and “living walls” with moss growing inside the building.

City Park view from One City Park. Image: Chris Young

The most impressive part of the building is the balcony, which features views of the city centre’s landmarks, with City Park’s mirror pool on the building’s doorstep.

During a visit to the building on Tuesday Mr Ward, PWC’s Audit and Market Senior Partner – Leeds & Bradford offices, said the company’s existing Bradford staff are due to move to One City Park in August.

Over the next few years the workforce is due to expand to between 400 and 500 staff.

Explaining why the company was expanding its Bradford operation, Mr Ward said: “One of the reasons we looked to invest in Bradford was that there is a great amount of talent that is not being utilised.

“A strategic reason for coming here is that the city is one of the youngest cities in the country, that is a really good attraction. There is also a lot of established talent here from when the area was in the building society belt. These are people we can employ to give us a long term future in Bradford.”

When asked if they had always planned to move to One City Park, he said: “The hope was to grow in Bradford in a sustainable way.

“We opened not long before Covid, and we soon went to having an empty office with staff working at home.

“Post Covid we wanted to maintain office space, and have people want to come back to the office.

“The economy has been very different over the last three and four years – the most challenging ever.

“But we wanted to grow and to achieve our growth aspirations we needed a new space. Post Covid we all recognise that there have to be benefits for people coming back to the office. People expect modern, flexible offices.

“We liked being in the city centre, but we required more space. We have a good relationship with the Council, and when the opportunity came up to move here we thought it would be fantastic.

“It is in an absolutely iconic position in the city centre – you only have to stand on the balcony and look out to see why we’ve moved here.

“You look out and you can see the growth and regeneration – this is where we need and want to be, in the heart of it.”

Mr Ward hopes the quality of One City Park helps convince other businesses to invest in the city.

He also believes the influx of staff into the city centre location will also boost smaller businesses such as local restaurants, cafes and shops.

Mr Ward said the building aligned with PWC’s values – particularly the fact that the office block has been built to be one of the Greenest buildings in Bradford, built to the highest sustainability standards.

He added: “When you move to a building like this it tells staff a lot about how much they are valued. We want to attract people to want to work with us. We want staff to work hard, so we want to make sure they are working in the best environment. We wanted to be somewhere that is absolutely cutting edge.

“We wanted a building fit for the future, not just fit for now.

“If you are someone looking to relocate to Bradford and we bring you to this office they are going to see the potential.

“We look forward to being part of the city’s regeneration. We hope that us being here will help attract other business and further increase employment.

“If we can play a small part in keeping skilled people in Bradford and not having to move to Leeds, Manchester or London that’s great. They can have the careers they want and stay in their home city.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and transport, said: “We’re very excited that PwC UK are moving to One City Park bringing up to 500 jobs to the heart of the city centre.

“There’s been a number of interested parties and enquiries about taking space in the building and those conversations are continuing as we work to secure the right occupiers for such a prestigious development. Securing an anchor tenant in developments of this nature is key while the rest of the spaces fill up after they have occupied the space.”

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