Lee & Lee Transfers To Former EFG Bank Bldg
SINGAPORE – Given that the SingLand Tower is undergoing renovation, current tenant Lee & Lee has decided to relocate to the former EFG Bank Building, reported The Business Times on Thursday morning (26 August, SGT).
The law firm revealed that it has inked a deal to lease 4 office floors (level 4 to 7) collectively measuring around 30,000 sq ft at the 9-storey building, which is now called 25 NorthBridge. Apart from the lease of more than 10 years, it has also been granted a right of first refusal to lease more workspace there when they become available. Overall, the commercial property has an overall leasable area of 77,835 sq ft.
Lee & Lee is transferring from the 47-storey Singapore Land Tower in Raffles Place to 25 NorthBridge, which is situated at the corner of High Street and North Bridge Road, by October 2021. This is prior to the expiration of its current lease for an office space spanning slightly over 30,000 sq ft.
Quek Mong Hua, the law firm’s Head of litigation & dispute resolution, told The Business Times that while they have a nice relationship with SingLand Tower’s landlord, Singapore Land Group, they have decided to relocate due to possible inconveniences that will be caused by the renovation.
“We would have renewed our lease at SingLand Tower (were it not) for their refurbishing plans. That caused some of our partners to feel uncomfortable about working in a building undergoing major renovation works anticipated to last about 2 years.”
Refurbishment works at the former EFG Bank Building commenced earlier this year, and a representative from the owner of the commercial property said the renovation works are targeted to be finished by the end of 2023.
“We have been in the building for a decade and prior to that, we were at the former UIC Building in Shenton Way, also owned by the same group,” noted Quek. Notably, United Industrial Corporation (UIC) was rebranded as Singapore Land Group in April 2021.
Queried if the relocation from prestigious Raffles Place to the High Street/ North Bridge Road area would be viewed as transferring to an inferior place, Quek responded: “Definitely not. We are moving to a building and a location that suits our strategic needs. For one, it is so near the Supreme Court Building.”
“We are not moving out of the city. Moreover, it will also be wonderful for our staff to jog or walk along the Singapore River in the evenings.”
Apart from facing Parliament House and being opposite of The Treasury, 25 NorthBridge is within walking distance to the City Hall MRT Station. It is also close to Boat Quay and Funan, which houses many amenities including eateries.
Another advantage of the new office space is it’s contiguous. There’s also an existing internal staircase connecting the 4 office floors leased by the law firm. “This is a more efficient arrangement as we can walk up or down to meet our colleagues from different departments. We don’t have to wait for the lift,” noted Quek.
In comparison, the firm’s workspace in SingLand Tower is on level 6 and 7, and a portion of the 36th floor.
Relocating to 25 NorthBridge will also enable Lee & Lee to try out hybrid work arrangements. In SingLand Tower, the law firm’s attorneys have their own individual private working rooms, but in the new premises, the rooms for the lawyers will be used on a rotational basis.
On days when one lawyer is working from home (WFH), the room will be used by another attorney. “This will enable us to optimise the use of the rooms,” he explained.
As for Lee & Lee’s support and administrative staff, they will continue to have a designated workspace, as working at the office would remain the default for them. Nonetheless, there could be exceptions. “We are experimenting, evolving,” Quek explained, adding that their signage will be displayed on the office building owned by RB Capital.
Meanwhile, RB Capital’s CEO Kishin RK disclosed that Lee & Lee’s monthly office rent is within the high single-digit range.
“We welcome Lee & Lee to 25 NorthBridge, to add to the gentrification of the Civic District, which has seen the completion of landmark projects including National Gallery and the new Funan in recent years,” he added.