PROPERTY and estate specialist Savills York is returning to its roots after relocating almost 50 staff to where the business started in the city nearly 40 years ago.

The 48 strong team moved from existing premises in Merchantgate and Bootham to River House in Museum Street after reaching an agreement with property company Rushbond Plc to lease all the office space within the landmark building.

The move follows the merger of Savills and Smiths Gore in June 2015.

River House is a Grade II listed building, which was built in the 1860s as the home of The Yorkshire Club, but it was later home to Savills York when the team first formed in 1980.

Andrew Harle, director at Savills York, said: “Over the last two years we’ve witnessed remarkable growth across our business streams and we remain very optimistic about the future. Our move to this iconic building reflects that confidence and will provide a fitting and professional environment which will help facilitate our continued expansion.

“Since we merged, we have been operating across two offices in the city centre while looking for an appropriate opportunity to come together. This new location will allow our residential sales business to service clients across the city and north Yorkshire from a convenient central location while providing more square footage for our rural departments to work together effectively under one roof.”

Ben Pridden, head of residential at Savills York, adds: “We are delighted to return to our roots at River House where it all began 37 years ago. We look forward to continuing to work with our existing clients and applicants.”

Leeds based Rushbond acquired River House earlier this year, adding to its investment portfolio in York, alongside the company’s development activity which includes the restoration of St Leonard’s Place. Pizza Express also occupies part of the building and Savills York has now completed a comprehensive fit-out of the 7,000 square feet of office space.

Mark Finch Director of Rushbond says: “River House is a standout, landmark building that is steeped in history.

“York continues to establish and build its reputation as one of the north of England’s leading commercial centres and this deal will further enhance this standing, by giving a global brand a prominent and sustainable presence in a magnificent city centre building.”

Savills York provides residential and rural property and estate services throughout the North of England.