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Costa Rica > Real estate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Leading lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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BLP combines ‘great knowledge of the real estate market’ with ‘advice that is objective-driven, efficient and of excellent quality’. While the four-partner department is experienced in advising across the full range of real estate matters, including land use regulations, M&A, and tourism infrastructure projects, as well as trust and lease agreements, it is the team’s experience in large-scale development projects that attracts the most attention. In recent highlights, ‘very knowledgeable’ practice head Luís M Castro assisted Sambaya (a local company formed of US and Canadian capital), with the $10m development of the Azura Beach Resort in the Nicoya region; and Eduardo Calderón, who has ‘in-depth technical knowledge’ and ‘is not afraid of proposing alternative solutions to the issue at hand’, advised local developer Desarrolladores 506 on the development and sale of the first stage of an 110-hectare beachfront gated-community. In other work, the team assisted H Solis with the development of the Foro 2-25 project, which will be the tallest mixed-use development in Eastern San José, and advised Gencom on the acquisition of the country’s famed Papagayo Peninsula and the Four Seasons Papagayo Resort. Andrés López is another name to note.

The practice group at Dentons Muñoz has strong credentials in the real estate industry, where the two-partner team advises foreign investors as well as domestic and international developers on the entire range of regulatory, transactional and environmental aspects of development projects. In recent highlights in the agro-industrial sector, the group assisted Boston-based fund, GMO Renewables, with the $2m acquisition of 3000 hectares of land in Guanacaste for a teak plantation; and advised Fyffes on its acquisition of an 800-hectare pineapple plantation including a large conservation area. Notable work in the hospitality sector included assisting Hilton with license agreement issues for the Curio condo-hotel project; and the team also advised Latam Logistics on lease agreements with several tenants of its warehouses. Eduardo Zúñiga heads the practice and Pedro Muñoz is also highly recommended.

Real estate advice is certainly one of the central pillars of Pacheco Coto’s sophisticated service offering: led by the highly regarded Alejandro Antillón, the eleven-strong department assists high-profile domestic and international developers with the full array of regulatory and transactional aspects concerning hospitality, residential and commercial development projects. In 2016, DWL Development’s real estate projects provided a significant workflow for the team: among other matters, the group advised the client on the constitution and structuring of a $30m high-end residential development of 153 units in Escazú; and on the financing and development of the $18m Allegro mixed-use project, including 90 condos and 15 commercial units. Other headline work included advising Grupo Solarium on a $6m land sale for the development of a free trade zone production facility in Guanacaste, and assisting Cielo Lodge with the entire development life cycle of a 5-star environmental boutique hotel on the Osa Peninsula. The department is also well-known for its strong environmental expertise, provided by its environmental division ENLACE, which is led by Roberto Cordero.

Highly recommended local firm Sfera Legal has a great reputation for its all-encompassing real estate expertise and the team is frequently retained by foreign investors seeking advice on real estate acquisitions. In recent transactional highlights, Rafael Cañas advised a foreign investor on the $2m sale of three commercial landmark buildings in San José and Heredia; represented foreign investment group Harbor Reef in the $3m sale of two large properties in Alajuela; and advised international speciality lodging company Surf Simply on the $1m acquisition of a beach front property in Nosara. On the development front, the team also assisted Grupo Luko with corporate, tax and real estate matters related to a high-end residential project. Jose Pablo Arce made partner and Robert van der Putten is the key contact for real estate disputes.

Increasingly recognised by peers, Consortium Legal has become a strong player in Costa Rica’s real estate arena, where the three partner group predominantly focuses on real estate acquisitions and financings. Co-led by Juan Manuel Cordero and David Reuben, who both made partner in January 2017, the team has longstanding experience in advising on the transactional aspects of residential, commercial and hospitality development projects, but is also adept at assisting with leasing, permitting and restructuring issues. Key clients include Cemex, Walmart and APM Terminals.

Expertis GHP Abogados fields a real estate department made up of ‘fast, knowledgeable, smart and courteous’ lawyers, who contribute to ‘keeping the client’s operations secure and fruitful’. The practice group’s expertise includes advising on the full life cycle of development projects, real estate transactions and lease agreements, thereby ensuring a diverse caseload. In 2016 highlights, ‘great professional’ Guillermo E Zuñiga advised Arenas del Mar Hotel on the renewal of its concession; and assisted Centurion Project & Development with the future sale of more than 60 Costa Rican properties following the client’s bankruptcy. ‘Wise’ practitioner Alberto Pauly, who ‘has the capacity to find ideal solutions’, advised Pan-American Woods Real Estate on the development of a 60-hectare real estate project on a former teak plantation. Other key clients include Costa Rica Immo, Coldwell Banker Tamarindo and Horizon Pacific Real Estate.

Aguilar Castillo Love’s activity in the real estate sector is based on its strong corporate and M&A capabilities. Senior partner John Aguilar-Osborne advises blue-chip clients such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise and AstraZeneca on an ongoing basis regarding the local real estate implications of their global expansion; in recent transactional highlights, he assisted Dos Pinos with the purchase of several manufacturing facilities in Costa Rica; and also advised VWR International with the multimillion-dollar acquisition of a new space for the expansion of its manufacturing operations.

Facio & Cañas receives a steady stream of real estate instructions from predominantly regional developers, real estate companies and buyers, as a result of which it has amassed deep experience in advising on the full life-cycle of residential and hospitality development projects. Carlos Valverde recently assisted Marriott with real estate issues related to the opening of two hotels in Guanacaste, and Víctor Garita continues to advise Recap Investments with the acquisition and development of an $8m, 230-hectare real estate project. Sergio Solera heads the team.

Lang & Asociados’ ‘excellent’ full-service offering also includes real estate advice on leasing agreements, zoning, planning, permits and transactional matters. In prime examples for the firm’s comprehensive advisory approach to international clients, key figure Henry Lang assisted US-based manufacturer Product Automation with establishing its Costa Rican operations, including the purchase of factory space; and advised Nitinol Devices & Components on the expansion plan for its Costa Rican operations, including the negotiation of new leases. Other work included assisting longstanding client Mastercard with permitting requirements for its new Costa Rican headquarters.

Lexincorp brings its strong corporate expertise to bear on real estate transactions, where the group’s ‘very attentive’ lawyers provide the ‘best service’ to a predominantly regional client base. Arnoldo André and Eugenio Vargas, who are both ‘deeply experienced in corporate real estate matters’, advise Fructa Costa Rica, reforestation company Novelteak and real estate developer Grupo Diría on an ongoing basis regarding transactions and contractual matters, as well as on liaison with government entities.

Zürcher, Odio & Raven is well-versed in rendering corporate and financing assistance to real estate developers and investors –such as CPG Real Estate and Portafolio Immobiliario– across the hospitality, commercial and residential sub-sectors. Other areas of expertise include advice on urban planning and lease agreements. Alberto Raven-Odio is the key contact.

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