18 December 2015

Webber Wentzel Moves to Iconic Building in Heart of Sandton Business District

Submitted by Teresa Settas

Law firm Webber Wentzel has almost completed its relocation to its new rental premises at 90 Rivonia Road, Sandton.  The building, developed by Redefine Properties, took three and half years of intricate planning to complete.  It will now house the entire Webber Wentzel Johannesburg staff complement of more than 650 people in one collaborative space.

The 25,000sqm development occupies an island site with seven floors and a 2000-car park basement opposite Sandton City as well as an annex of 10,000sqm for future expansion.  It is within easy reach of clients and central transport hubs including OR Tambo Airport via the Gautrain. 

Webber Wentzel has experienced exponential growth - the partnership has grown from 116 partners in 2010 to 150 partners this year, with 22 lateral hires in the last 18 months alone.  The firm recognised the need to move all its people under one roof, supported by an upgraded technology platform for seamless connection to clients, team members and its network of alliance partners and best friend firms. 

“A more cohesive working environment brings distinct benefits for our clients.  The move to 90 Rivonia Road represents an exciting milestone in our plans to grow and modernise the firm in line with global best practice while at the same time delivering on our key differentiator - the seamless collaboration of specialist teams, structured around our clients' needs.  This is about working in a dynamic space that supports a more focused, client-centric culture that better delivers on our clients' expectations of an internationally acclaimed law firm,”  explains Sally Hutton, Managing Partner of Webber Wentzel. 

Managing the rising rental costs of property in the heart of Sandton’s business district was also an important consideration when Webber Wentzel negotiated the deal with Redefine Properties. The firm has increased its space by 30% for the same cost as its previous rental with 10,000sqm retained for future growth.  At the same time, it was an opportunity to create an environment that focuses on sustainability, business continuity, productivity and staff comfort.  Many other efficiencies will flow from the consolidation of the firm (which previously occupied three adjacent buildings) into one centralised office.

Webber Wentzel’s new building features:

  • - 45 boardrooms of various sizes
  • - Three fully-equipped conference rooms, one of which is a 200-seater that can be used for arbitration purposes
  • - Seating capacity increased by 250%
  • - Areas dedicated to employee wellness and exercise
  • - A library
  • - A multi-faith prayer room
  • - 250-seater all-inclusive dining facility with spectacular views
  • - 2,000 parking bays for staff and clients
  • - Significantly enhanced connectivity
  • - A concierge service for staff and clients

The modern and energy efficient building, which achieves a 4-star rating from the Green Building Council, features an entire floor dedicated to the health and wellness of its staff,  including an all-inclusive dining facility, a wellness centre with a doctor, nurse and physiotherapist on call, as well as a fully equipped gym. Generators and water-storage tanks ensure that business continues unhindered during load- and water-shedding.

The new development at 90 Rivonia Road will see the entire Webber Wentzel Johannesburg team moved in by the end of December from its three premises in Fricker Road, Illovo, with the launch of the building set for March 2016.  

“This is the perfect opportunity to create an office and business environment that is fully aligned to the requirements of our clients and our people, and most importantly, reflects our position as a leading law firm in Sub-Saharan Africa,” concludes Sally.