Council to appoint external legal adviser for retail quarter deal

Sheffield City Council is to appoint an external legal services provider to support the authority in agreeing a deal with an international commercial tenant proposing to take office space within the Sheffield Retail Quarter (SRQ).

The SRQ  is a major regeneration scheme in the heart of the city centre. The council is in the process of assembling the site and has retained a multi-disciplined professional team to work up and submit a planning application for the SRQ and to advance the proposals.

Sheffield will appoint legal advisers via the national Crown Commercial Services Legal Services Framework. The estimated value of the contract is £450,000.

The decision to use an external provider was taken last week by Sheffield’s leader, Cllr Julie Dore, to “ensure the timely conclusion of legal agreements under the SRQ”.

A report prepared in advance said: “Delivery is envisaged to be an extremely legally complex matter and coupled to this the timescales required in order to agree and complete the transaction are extremely short with matters needing to be in an advanced if not completed stage within months of the date of this report.

“In order to progress these negotiations and agree and complete the necessary legal documentation the Council requires external specialist legal support in order to address both the required expertise and the delivery timescales.”

The report said existing arrangements for external legal advisers relating to the SRQ did not include the provision of the specific type of specialist advice required.

Alternative options were considered by the council, namely to either conduct its own advertised procurement exercise or recruit a specialist in house legal team to undertake the work.

“Considering the timescales involved and the temporary nature of the advice required it was decided this would not offer value for money,” the report said.

The award of the contract was delegated to the Director of Commercial Services in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance.

The successful provider will be expected to interface with the tenant’s legal team and liaise with the council’s internal legal lead and SRQ client team.


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