Eversheds Sutherland and Reynolds Porter Chamberlain are the latest international firms to uproot their Hong Kong offices in the city’s main business district known as Central—the most expensive office location in the world—and move to an emerging business district further east called Quarry Bay.
Both firms are relocating to One Taikoo Place, a 48-story triple Grade-A office tower in Quarry Bay, which was completed earlier this year.
Eversheds will make the move from The Landmark—one of the most popular office locations for global firms—in July of next year. The transatlantic firm’s new office will be about 22,000 square feet, which is approximately double the firm’s current office space. The firm has about 60 lawyers in Hong Kong, including 19 partners.
U.K. firm Reynolds Porter will move to One Taikoo Place in January. The new office will be almost 50 percent bigger than its current space in Central’s Three Exchange Square. “After over six years … we needed to find a space that could continue to grow with us,” the firm said in a statement.
The firm has about 30 lawyers in Hong Kong, including 11 partners. RPC recently lost a seven-lawyer insurance team to CMS in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong senior partner David Smyth will retire from the partnership later this month, although he will remain with the firm as a consultant.
Meanwhile, U.K. firm Simmons & Simmons will also move to One Taikoo Place from its current office in One Pacific Place in Admiralty—an extension of the Central business district and another popular office location for global law firms. Other notable Pacific Place tenants include Hogan Lovells, Dorsey & Whitney and Bird & Bird.
Early next year, Baker McKenzie will become the first major U.S. firm to make the switch to Quarry Bay. The firm has also rented space in One Taikoo Place.
The firms are the latest in a growing trend among global law firms choosing to move away from Central to the less expensive Quarry Bay, where offices can rent for a quarter of the Central’s astronomical rates.
In October, average monthly rent for the most expensive offices in Central was about $25.5 per square foot, according to property consultancy Knight Frank. That compares to the $6.8 per square foot average monthly rent for the Quarry Bay area. Eversheds will pay a rate of $8.7 per square foot for its new office in One Taikoo Place.
Rates in Admiralty, where the Hong Kong government is located, stood at $14.9 per square foot on average—the second most expensive area after Central, according to the report.
In 2016, then Berwin Leighton Paisner became the first major international firm to move to Quarry Bay from Central. Others that have moved to Quarry Bay include Ince & Co and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Other firms are also relocating their offices to cheaper areas. MinterEllison is moving out of One Pacific Place in Admiralty to an office building further east in Wanchai. Offshore firm Maples and Calder will leave The Center building in Central for Wanchai’s Central Plaza, an office tower that currently houses Clyde & Co and Pinsent Masons.