Retail giant Freeman Grattan Holdings has secured a deal to open a new head office and house around 300 staff in the centre of Bradford.
The German-owned company has paid £2.13 million for the freehold of a Grade II-listed former wool warehouse on the edge of Little Germany.
The mail order and online retailer will transfer office staff from its Lidget Green base, where Grattan has had a presence since 1934. This year marks the company's centenary.
The site at 66-70 Vicar Lane is a 39,300 sq ft five-floor building which has stood empty for several years but was refurbished last year to provide modern offices.
As exclusively revealed by the T&A, FGH chief Koert Tulleners persuaded bosses at the family-owned Otto parent group to keep the FGH UK base in Bradford.
The move will see nearly half the company’s remaining ful-time staff relocating to the city centre with the rest remaining at Listerhills where FGH has an operations and distribution base.
Koert Tulleners said: “We're excited about this development which is good news for our staff and for the city. We hope to move to Little Germany between September and November this year after completing what will be fairly extensive internal works to turn the Vicar lane building into a 21st Century online retailing base. Externally it will continue to look the same as it does now.
“We’ve worked closely with Bradford Council, who have been very supportive and helped us find a suitable site. I'm pleased that this move will contribute towards the regeneration of the city centre.”
Coun David Green, Bradford Council executive member for economy and regeneration, said: “Clearly we're delighted that we've been able to retain the head office of this important company in Bradford and protect jobs.
“It demonstrates once again that the council is willing to work with existing businesses as well as inward investors. The deal will also provide a major boost for Little Germany by bringing people back into the area.”
Property consultant Mike Armitage, of Armitage Associates, who advised FGH on the deal, said the fact that the company had bought the freehold of a Grade II-listed building was significant and showed the company’s commitment to the city. Specialists at the Bradford offices of lawyers Gordons and property consultants Rex Procter & Panthers, are also advising FGH.
The sale of the building on behalf of previous owners WP Carey & Co,, was handled by the Leeds office of Colliers International Colliers’ Jonathan McGrael said: “We are delighted to have sold this prominent, well specified building to Freeman Grattan Holdings which is committing to stay within the city and plans to relocate its HQ operation from Ingleby Road.”