A LEGAL firm is investing in new offices in the heart of York to support the group's plans to significantly boost its presence in the city.

Knights PLC wants to grow its offering in key markets outside London and recently opened its York office at 5 Museum Street.

The firm has now announced plans to relocate to Hudson Quarter, the £35 million mixed-use development opposite York Railway Station. The move is expected to take place in Spring 2021.

Developers Palace Capital announced that the pre-let agreement had set a record office rent in York at its flagship Hudson Quarter scheme.

It is the first commercial agreement at Hudson Quarter, which is due to complete in the first quarter of 2021.

Hudson Quarter will feature four separate buildings, comprising 127 luxury apartments in three of the blocks - named Victoria, Waverley and Kings, in a nod to York's railway heritage - and about 40,000 sq ft of office space.

Knights is taking all of the commercial space available in the Victoria building - 4,588 sq ft of ground floor office space at £12.50 per sq ft for the first two years. After that the rent will rise to £25 per sq ft, which is thought to set a new record office rent for the City of York.

Jonathan Moore, partner at Knights, said: “We recently launched our York operations with great growth ambitions, supported by a strong and experienced team.

"Today’s update provides us with a great runway for growth in the region, as we continue to make positive steps to build the leading legal and professional services business outside London.

“The space at Hudson Quarter is an ideal location to expand our employee base in York, through the recruitment of high-calibre professionals who would like to be part of an ambitious business and are attracted to our unique culture and risk-free corporate model.”

Until the move, Palace is accommodating Knights at its newly-refurbished offices at Museum Street.

Neil Sinclair, chief executive of Palace Capital plc, said: "To have completed our first commercial pre-let a full year ahead of Hudson Quarter's completion and at the same time setting a new rental tone for York is very pleasing.

"Moreover, our ability to secure this lease while accommodating Knights at our other asset in the City of York in the interim is testimony to our asset management skills and ability to manage occupier needs across our portfolio."

There is growing demand for high-quality work space in York. Hudson Quarter is the first offering of new, grade A speculative office space in the city in more than 10 years. It will also incorporate a landscaped courtyard, parking and a pedestrian and cycle route through the site.