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Leech & Partners Seeks new home in Christchurch CDB 

February 20 2018 – Seven years on from the collapse of the PGC Building which claimed 18 lives in the February 2011 earthquake, one of the building’s former tenants has announced its plans to move back to the Christchurch central business district.

Accounting and business advisory firm Leech & Partners, which occupied part of level two in the collapsed building, has been based in Mandeville St, Riccarton, since March 2011, following a temporary relocation to its Ashburton office immediately following the earthquake.

Leech & Partners has now engaged Savills Real Estate to begin a search for a bigger, new office for its 20 Christchurch-based staff in the heart of the action in the newly re-emerged CBD.

Jonathan Lyttle, managing director of Savills’ Christchurch office, says Leech & Partners’ decision to move back to the CBD is significant, given one of its directors, Philip McDonald, lost his life and several other staff were trapped in the PGC Building collapse.

Nick Walls, who is now a director at Leech & Partners, was pulled from the rubble of the building after being trapped for 10 hours with serious injuries that required him to learn to walk again.

Walls says the business, which has outgrown its Mandeville St office, has had a return to the CBD in its sights for some time.

“Our firm made a commitment to stay in Christchurch following the Canterbury earthquakes. As a well-established business in the Christchurch market, it’s very important to us to return to the CBD, despite what happened seven years ago,” he says.

“We’ve observed the development progress to date in the CBD and we now believe it has reached a suitable stage for our firm. The CBD now provides everything we need in terms of high quality buildings, modern office space, staff amenities and transport, and we’re really excited about our eventual move.”

Lyttle says Leech & Partners, along with other local businesses, have watched the CBD rebuild closely over the past few years and now have the confidence to commit to relocating back there.

“The opening of several big new developments in the CBD has provided a catalyst for businesses to make the decision to move back in,” he says.

“The CBD now a really attractive place to work, with well-planned retail developments, inviting public spaces, plenty of hospitality options and more coming soon. This has created a whole lot more impetus for local businesses to move back and enjoy the prestige of a CBD address.”

Leech & Partners’ “wish list” for their new office space includes around 500m2 of floor area, preferably across one level, within easy walking distance of Cashel Mall, Walls says.

“We would like all our staff to be located on a single floor, in a location that’s within easy reach of the Cashel St café and retail options. Access to convenient client parking is a must, but we’re also looking for amenities that make it easy for staff who don’t want to drive to work, such as close links to public transport, showers and bike parking as well.”

The timing of the move will be dependent on whether the firm opts to lease offices in a yet to be constructed development, or takes existing space, says Walls.