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Clients are unabashedly effusive about the ‘top class’ real estate team at Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C.: ‘in my opinion, it is the best real estate law firm in Mexico. This is a law firm that has everything that a client needs and not only professionally speaking but also from a personal point of view’, says one. Another adds that the lawyers ‘know how to get things done and close deals. That’s what they do, and that’s what we need. They are expensive, but totally worth it’. The 32-strong team is solidly integrated, including with other departments in the firm, and it is, therefore, able to handle highly complex deals, from transactional to finance matters, including CKDs, FIBRAs, and CERPIs in all real estate sectors. A ‘strong negotiator, with a great deal of experience in the field’, ‘top notch real estate lawyerFrancisco Montalvo leads the practice from the firm’s Monterrey office. His recent work involved real estate acquisitions, including acting as counsel for Nucor JFE Steel Mexico in the acquisition of approximately 100 hectares of land (once subject to the Mexican agrarian regime) located in Silao, Guanajuato, for the establishment of a steel galvanising plant, a case also involving ejido issues. Key partner Carlos de Icaza, based in Mexico City, assisted the Dutch Embassy with negotiating and executing the lease agreement for its new offices in the capital; and MRP in the MXN$7.8bn sale, to Fibra Uno (FUNO), of a portfolio of 16 stabilised shopping centres across 11 Mexican states, and one plot of land in the greater Mexico City area. In the former mandate he was supported by senior associate Alfonso Pulido whom clients describe as ‘a versatile, hands on lawyer with deep knowledge of real estate transactions. There is a noticeable difference when he participates in a deal. He has a great willingness to work, any time, any day’. Pulido was also present on a deal led by another key partner, Carlos del Río, in which the team – also involving IP and insurance lawyers – advised Tesla on the negotiation of lease agreements for the establishment of its operations in Mexico, including the negotiation of Supercharger Stations in several locations across Mexico, required for the implementation of an electric charging network for all-electric Tesla vehicles. Senior associate Pilar Orozco was also involved in this deal. Del Río teamed up with other key partner Badir Treviño-Mohamed (based in Monterrey) as counsel to RLH Properties in the acquisition of a holding in the companies that own the Rosewood, Fairmont, Banyan Tree and Andaz Mayakoba-brand hotels and the "El Camaleón" golf course, in Quinatana Roo. Treviño-Mohamed was very active in FIBRA work, most notably, (in conjunction with capital markets partner Carlos Aiza) he led the team that assisted Grupo Bafar in the negotiation, implementation, and structuring of FIBRA Nova, including its offering on the Mexican Stock Exchange. Counsel Valentina Villa and associate Rogelio Rueda are also noted, and key support also comes from senior associate Carlos Yamamoto. Iker Arriola joined the firm from White & Case S.C. in early 2018. Clients include Macquarie Mexican REIT, FIBRA Macquarie, Terrafina, Walton Street Capital, Prudential Real Estate, Artha Capital, GE Capital Real Estate, Black Creek Capital, O’Connor Capital Partners, Mexico Retail Properties, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Prologis and Southern Cross.

Four partners and 10 associates focus on real estate matters at Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes S.C., covering the full range of practice expertise, including tax, finance and environmental aspects, in the hospitality, housing, retail, office, and industrial sectors. The last year saw the team active with real estate developments, corporate work and financing transactions. Of the partners who cover these matters, Lorenza Langarica is principally focused on the hospitality sub-sector, with her recent work including advising The Bank of Nova Scotia and Scotiabank Inverlat on the refinancing of a credit facility to Inmobiliaria Canopo and Inmobiliaria Valiant ($38.4m and $18.1m, respectively) for the development of its hotels; and Hotels Parks Hospitality on the negotiation of agreements with Hilton and Grupo Posadas for the management of several new hotels across Mexico. Javier Cortina is also particularly active in this area; he recently assisted regular client BeGrand, as borrower and trustee, with a MXN$2.43bn mortgage-backed credit agreement (which included a second trust as mortgage guarantor and which holds the real estate property to be developed); and Acciona–Inmobiliaria Parque Reforma (also a regular client) with the acquisition of a prime-location plot in Mexico City, for the development of a 56,757 square-metre residential complex, a mandate which included due diligence, urban planning, regulatory and environmental law advice. Another figure with market presence, Eugenio Macouzet recently represented SabCapital and BanCoppel as lenders in an MXN$800m credit facility granted to an affiliate of Thor Urbana for the construction of a shopping centre in the southeast of the country; and Banamex on a MXN$40.5m loan agreement (with mortgage guarantee) with a real estate developer in the state of Sonora as borrower and mortgage guarantor. Both mandates were carried out with corporate partner Francisco Ibañez, who also acted for MetLife, as lender, in the negotiation and drafting of the third amendment to a $470m loan agreement with Corporate Properties Apodaca. Founding partner Pablo Mijares continues to handle real estate matters, mainly acting for Fairmont Hotels and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. Further support comes from associates Fernando Molina, who assisted Cortina with BeGrand and Acciona–Inmobiliaria Parque Reforma mandates, and Said Vite and Carlos Gómez, who work with Langarica on her cases. Other clients include Gran Armee Del Cabo, and Grupo Alos and DINE.

The large (nine partners and 13 associates) real estate team at Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC assists clients in high-end real estate matters, and while offering the full range of practice expertise, it is mostly noted for transactional and finance work in the area. The core of the team has been working together for over 20 years, and the lawyers have honed their skills on some of the most innovative mandates in the country. Of note is the team’s ongoing assistance to FibraHotel (the first FIBRA in the business hotel sub-sector), which has involved a MXN$2.89bn lease agreement with Grupo Posadas for the latter to operate hotel Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun within the context of the acquisition of the hotel by the client from Posadas; and the MXN$130m acquisition of a Fiesta Americana hotel known as "Hacienda Galindo", located in San Juan del Río, Querétaro, also a transaction carried out with Grupo Posadas. In another major deal, the team advised Marriott Hotels International on a joint venture with Inmobiliaria Xtra Hoteles (operating under the Mexican companies Inmobiliaria Valiant and Inmobiliaria Cancún), and the refinancing of its existing loans with Bank of Nova Scotia and Scotiabank Inverlat; Danske Bank on real estate aspects of the Diamante Cabo San Lucas Development, to which the client granted a loan; and Fibra Danhos on its third debt issuance – carried out in record time – with the objective of funding expenditures and working capital, the completion of the Parque Las Antenas development, and to initiate the construction of a development in Mexico City. Practice head Michell Nader S led this latter deal; he is considered an outstanding lawyer, especially with regard to financing matters, although partner Vanessa Franyutti is probably the firm’s most active lawyer in this area. ‘Professional and focused’, Franyutti is lauded by peers for her work, which has included the Marriott and Danske Bank cases; she and Nader undertook the FibraHotel work in tandem. Other key lawyers in the department include Alejandro Rojas V, who also handles FibraHotel work; Eduardo Villanueva O, who acted for Grupo Estancias Extendidas, as borrower, on a MXN$550m syndicated secured credit facility granted by Scotiabank Inverlat for the construction of nine hotels, and for SabCapital as lenders in a $52m syndicated secured credit facility granted by SabCapital and Banorte to Canamex International, Desarrolladora Medano and Operadora; and Javier Arreola who assisted MetLife México, as lender, on a MXN$340m refinancing extended to a joint venture formed by Walton St and Planigrupo. Further support comes from partners Hans P Goebel C, Julián Garza C, Gunter A Schwandt G, and Adrián López G. Clients include GE Real Estate México, MSD Capital, Verde Realty, Banco Sabadell, Prudential Real Estate Investors / Prudential Mortgage, Inmobiliaria Helmer, and Vertex.

For one client Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. is ‘by far the best firm’ for real estate matters, an area in which it has over 40 years’ involvement. Noted qualities include the team being ‘extremely client oriented’: ‘the lawyers are always following up and on top of everything’ and ‘proactive, seeking to facilitate business’. One of two partners in the 19-strong practice, Rodrigo Conesa leads the team; covering the full range of real estate matters, ‘he is always on top of things and is always looking for creative options to make the deal happen’, according to clients. He continued to assist Thor Urbana Capital with the development of mixed use, hotel and retail projects in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Merida, Playa del Carmen, Los Cabos, San Luis Potosi, and Metepec; he represented Grupo Hotelero Santa Fe in the $30m acquisition of a 50% interest in the Bel Air Hotels in Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, and in the formation of a joint venture between the parties; and Vertex Real Estate in the $125m purchase and sale of "The Cape" hotel in Los Cabos to Operadora Hotelera BPBI Hotels and Resorts and Stingray Hotels and Resorts. Javier Domínguez Torrado advised Walton Street Capital on several matters, including a due diligence and MXN$1bn acquisition of assets including land and a hotel in Riviera Nayarit; a $90m sale of assets involving a hotel in Mexico City; and a joint venture with COPRI for the acquisition and development of a mixed use (residential and offices) project in Querétaro. Both Domínguez Torrado and Conesa are noted for their ‘very high technical skills and extraordinary negotiating capabilities’. In other work, Jean Paul Farah Chajín, whose financial practice also covers real estate work, assisted Banorte with a MXN$1.7bn financing to Thor Urbana for the construction of a shopping centre in Metepec. The firm’s recent development of an impressive tax team will also complement the strengths of the real estate practice. Gabriel Torres left the firm. Other clients include PGIM Real Estate México, Investment Trust in Industrial Real Estate (FIBRA) Terrafina, and Abilia.

Baker McKenzie Abogados, S.C. has ‘a solid real estate team that has been in the market for a long time’, says one peer, with a client adding that ‘the service is always excellent – few firms in Mexico have its quality and attention. Contracting BM’s real estate team is a guarantee of legal security in these kinds of transactions. The fees are high, but they reflect the quality of the services’. The large 31-lawyer practice is spread across offices in Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Tijuana, and handles the full range of real estate matters in the industrial, commercial, residential and tourism segments. Based in Tijuana, Jose Larroque chairs the firm’s Global Real Estate Practice Group, and recently advised a real estate investment fund on bidding for the acquisition of a high-end, mixed use complex in Mexico City. In Monterrey, Juan Bernardo García, who heads the regional (Latin American) real estate practice, has ‘excellent attention and exceptional legal skills’. He worked with Larroque on the real estate investment fund mandate, and also assisted a national government on the relocation of its consulate in Merida, Yucatan; as well as several multinational companies, including UBER, on the real estate aspects of expansion in Mexico and/or the region. With his more than 20 years’ experience in the area, and as practice head, García has built a team that distinguishes itself ‘because quality is spread across all members, and you are certain that you will always receive the same level of service’. Further support comes from Gaspar Gutierrez-Centeno, who heads the firm’s banking and finance and transactional practice groups; his recent mandates include acting for a hotel operator in the auction process of one of its hotels; and representing one of two investors in a joint venture agreement for the development of an office building in Mexico City. Guadalajara-based Fabian Monsalve-Agraz worked with García on the consular mandate and also advised an international industrial group on the $100m acquisition of a plot of land for the development and construction of a new industrial manufacturing facility. Senior associate Gabriela Saucedo is a key member of the team, working closely with García in Monterrey. Other clients include Lowe’s, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Dal-Tile, Emblem Capital, Macquarie, Union Investment Real Estate, Javer/Nexxus, Magna and Nest.

Clients appreciate CMS Woodhouse Lorente Ludlow’s six-strong real estate team, regarding it as ‘very good in terms of quality, value and quick response time’. The practice has consolidated over several years and provides clients across numerous sectors with reliable, integrated assistance in all real estate issues and related areas; moreover, the firm’s association with CMS (begun in 2013) was formalised in conjuncture with the latter’s expansion into south America, offering additional regional capability. The team is led by name partner Enrique Lorente Ludlow and by recently made up partner César Lechuga, and also calls on the expertise of name partner Derek Woodhouse, who heads the infrastructure practice. Lechuga is valued for his ‘advice, preparation and dedication’; and the team was further strengthened with the hire of associate María José Estrada, who joined from Inmobiliaria Quiero Casa where she was in-house counsel. The practice continued its steady flow of work for its strong client roster, assisting: Opera Desarrolladora with its MXN$1.4bn Castorena Residential Project and the MXN$1.1bn Parque Lira Residentia Project, both located in the capital, as well as with other developments; and, drawing on its strength in finance, energy and project finance, advising CKD IM and CDPQ on the real estate due diligence related to the $3bn acquisition of a 1,700MW portfolio – including 4 wind projects and 4 solar projects – from ENEL Green Power. In addition, the team assisted the Mexico City government on the legal issues involved in the development of a number of multi-purpose real estate projects; and advised Cinépolis, another of the team’s regular clients, on the renegotiation of a real estate trust for the development of a residential project in Querétaro, valued at $410m. The group also assists Deka Immobilien Investment and Union Real Estate Investment with day-to-day matters, including leasing and administration, acquisitions and general corporate matters.

For one client, the five-strong real estate team that recently left Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. for Greenberg Traurig, S.C. is the ‘go-to’ outfit for real estate matters in Mexico. This, combined with the quality of the team the firm already had in place – which offers ‘complete technical knowledge, full availability and timeliness’, according to another client – makes for a new and promising real estate practice on the Mexican scene, especially considering the combination of complementary expertise at the office, with its strong focus on finance and considerable expertise in the energy and petrochemical sectors. In addition to the practice group’s increased depth and capabilities, it loses none of its international draw, being able to rely on a pool of over 300 real estate lawyers worldwide. Partner Antonio Diez de Bonilla led the team that moved from Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.; he is ‘proactive and very deal oriented, commentators note, ‘endeavouring to close deals by proposing solutions rather than finding problems’. He, along with fellow ex-H&B partner Gerardo Carrillo Valadez, represented Hyatt Hotels as main counsel in the negotiation and implementation of a $200m joint venture with Sordo Madaleno for the development of a mixed-use project which will include a Park Hyatt hotel with offices and residential components. Drawing on their experience in the energy and petrochemical sectors, Fernando Orrantia and Antonio A Robles advised British Petroleum regarding its retail fuel stations in Mexico. The team led by Orrantia also assisted the client in regulatory and environmental matters, one of the lawyer’s specialisations. Primarily focused on real estate finance, Miguel Moisés represented BBVA Bancomer, Sabcapital, and Bancomext in a $180m syndicated loan to a major hotel developer to refinance the existing debt of three hotels; and in another syndicated loan, assisted BBVA Bancomer and the syndicate on the $125m refinancing of hotels operated by Pueblo Bonito. The latter matter was undertaken in conjunction with office managing partner José Raz Guzmán, who also covers corporate, banking and finance and capital markets, and whose input is highly valued by clients. Associate Julio Sardina is also very active, and clients appreciate his work, as they do the contribution of associate David Argueta; Sardina concentrates on real estate, while Argueta also covers finance and capital markets. Associate Elizabeth Tovar left to join Romo Paillés, S.C..

The ‘excellent’ multidisciplinary real estate team at Hogan Lovells BSTL is made up of twelve lawyers who ‘have full knowledge and experience of the issues in question, dealing with each one with due seriousness and responsibility, and presenting answers and strategies that are clear and results that are optimal’. Moreover, the lawyers ‘treat matters as if they were their own, taking responsibility from beginning to end, thereby building trust’. With offices in Mexico City and in Monterrey – as well as with its international network – the firm covers the full range of the real estate panorama, including industrial, tourism and hospitality, retail and commercial, residential and agrarian. The team also undertook some FIBRA work last year, as well as carrying out the Mexico-based real estate aspects of cross-border M&A operations, as well as disputes arising from real estate operations and related real estate financing. Among the team’s recent work was the preparation and negotiation of a $12m lease agreement for Gates de México to relocate its facilities in Toluca, as well as assisting Duracell with drafting and negotiating the lease and construction of its offices in Santa Fe, Mexico City. Both cases were co-led by Ángel Domínguez de Pedro and Juan Francisco Torres Landa, practice head and Mexico City managing partner, respectively. Torres Landa also covers corporate and M&A, energy and environment, bankruptcy and restructuring, and international trade and customs. Domínguez de Pedro, together with counsel Fernando Medina Luna, is considered an ‘expert in real estate matters. They make an extraordinary team, with a sense of urgency and always putting the client first’. One client further appreciates Medina Luna for his ‘focus on our requests and excellent follow-up’. While these three lawyers are based in Mexico City, Guillermo González practices from Monterrey where his caseload is heavily skewed towards the industrial sector, including the automotive industry, although recent matters also included hospitality and retail. Other work involved lease and construction agreements, due diligence and purchase agreements, built to suit lease agreements, and portfolio development. Clients include Ford Motor Company, Wal-Mart de México, Parks Desarrolladora, Procter & Gamble Manufactura and AstraZeneca.

The nine lawyers that form the real estate practice at Jones Day offer a broad range of expertise that encompasses every angle of a real estate project development, including finance and tax. In addition, the team can draw on the environmental expertise of Mauricio Llamas, and while 2017 mandates were mainly domestic, it also has recourse to the firm’s international network. The team maintains a roster of loyal clients, including the Holley Group, which practice head Manuel Romano and Llamas continued to advise regarding a $500m industrial park development (including the purchase of 150 hectares of land), in Nuevo León. The two form the core of the group, and they also assisted the Crowne Group with the sale and lease back of an industrial facility in Reynosa. Other work highlights included assisting MGM Innova Capital, as seller and lessor, in a structured finance transaction with Promotora Sunset Beach Clubs; Goodyear, with issues related to the regulatory and EH&S compliance and permitting of a $500m tyre plant currently in development in San Luis Potosí; and Petrofac in relation to migrating its contracts with PEMEX to the new regime in which the client becomes a PEMEX partner directly executing oil exploration and exploitation activities (thereby involving the need to acquire or lease the land on which the oil fields are located and establish the benefits that will accrue to the land owners. Rodrigo Gómez handles the tax aspects of real estate work. Active clients include Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Mision XII, and Lowe’s.

Full-service Santamarina y Steta is a real estate stalwart, with offices in Mexico Ciy, Monterrey, Querétaro and Tijuana. The 10-strong team acts for developers, constructors, administrators, trustees and realtors on transactional, finance and development matters, having recently assisted General Motors with the negotiations for the amendment to a Master Agreement for the sale of a 17,500 square metre property to Grupo Sordo Madaleno, in exchange for the acquisition of a portion of a 18,200 square metre property and of a 2,750 square metre property, for the value of MXN$1.5bn. Tijuana-based Aarón Levet has over 25 years’ practice experience and a focus on the tourism sector; in Mexico City, Vicente Grau also covers project finance and infrastructure, and has handled loan refinancings, guarantee restructuring, acquisitions, leases, and project development. In Monterrey, César Cruz A also handles real estate matters. Associates Bárbara Asiain, Miguel Ernesto Beltrán R, Christian Burges S, Andrea Cavazzani S, Marcela Flores G, Luis Carlos Gómez P and Gabriela Harfush Haua all provide support. Clients include BMO Harris Bank, Intrawest Resort Ownership, Fukoku, and Haitian Huayuan Mexico. Gloria Park has left the firm.

Cuesta Campos y Asociados S.C.’ ‘top notch’ real estate practice is regarded by clients as ‘highly competent and knowledgeable’ and offering ‘excellent personalised customer service: replies are quick and the results are those desired’. The firm is part of the MERITAS global network, and, in addition to this, is able to offer the added value of good geographical reach, with offices in Mexico City, Guadalajara and El Bajío. In the latter two, the technology and the automotive manufacturing industries, respectively, are predominant, reflecting two of the sectors in which the practice has developed its real estate activity. Recent work highlights, for example, included assisting global electronics manufacturing company Sanmina with the review, drafting and negotiation of the energy supply agreements for its largest plant in Mexico (in the context of a strategic move to clean energy); and advising automotive industry supplier ZF Sachs, as tenant, on the preparation, negotiation, and closing of a built-to-suit and lease agreement. The team also advises on property acquisitions, bailments, surface rights, usufruct and easements and trusts, as well as related tax aspects, litigation, and environmental law. Principal associate Berenice Soto García heads the team. ‘She is a tenacious and capable lawyer, with excellent leadership skills and presentation’, said one client. Partner Azucena Marín worked with Soto García on several mandates; her broad practice covers M&A, competition law, and finance and real estate transactions, as does that of associate Miguel Romero. The practice also counts on the support of managing partner, corporate and finance specialist Hugo Cuesta, and of counsel Aciel Gaitan, who covers environmental matters, mainly in the Bajío region. In addition, the team hired two associates from Grant Thornton in May 2017. Other clients include Inter-American Development Bank, ABC Polymer, Orora, Flex, Daimler, Nike, and Xin Point.

Following their June 2017 merger, EC Legal Rubio Villegas combines the strengths of Mexico City-based Rubio Villegas y Asociados and Ciudad Juárez-head quartered EC Legal. With a strong focus on industrial investment, overall the firm fields 65 lawyers across offices in Mexico City, Cd. Juárez, Querétaro and Irapuato (plus a ‘desk’ in León). In real estate, the team handles acquisitions, due diligences, financing, construction projects, leases and management agreements, resolution of title deficiencies, zoning, planning and land-use issues, real estate property tax and property recording issues. Recent work involved assisting Corporación Inmobiliaria Vesta with the acquisition of a portfolio of assets in Tijuana (totalling 1.3m square-feet) for an aggregate investment of $73.4m; and advised Artha Capital on the setup of a large solar energy project in the state of Chihuahua involving MXN$22.8bn of assets-under-management (AUM) and funded under the PRANA Energy CKD fund. It has also acted for Fibra Nova on several mandates, including on the development of the second phase of the UNITEC university Campus (a division of Laureate International) in Querétaro; and on the development of an expansion to the industrial facility leased by Visteon Services in Reynosa. Carlos Enríquez and Renato Martínez are the two main practitioners, either leading mandates or acting in tandem. Enríquez has 35 years’ experience in the sector and is an expert on maquiladora regulations and foreign investment; Martínez has a finance practice and a focus on cross-border transactions. Support comes from Fernando Holguín, who worked with Enríquez to advise Foxconn on securing the first licence to operate a strategic fiscal warehouse allowing the joint binational customs pre-clearance of products between Mexico and the US; and Jaime O’Reilly, who worked with Martínez on the Artha Capital mandate, and with Enríquez, on the advice given to TMW Enterprises on the $13m sale of its industrial portfolio (comprising five properties in Ciudad Juarez and Torreon) to IGS Industrial Fund III. Other team members include Sergio de la Rocha and César Ochoa. Additional clients include Grupo Bafar and Promotora y Urbanizadora Cever.

Peers attest to Galicia Abogados SC’ successful efforts to grow and strengthen its position in the legal real estate sector since the arrival of Alejandro Trujillo in October 2015, after ten years as general counsel at GE Capital Real Estate. For clients the practice is ‘one of the fastest and most flexible – without sacrificing quality’. While the six-strong outfit is able to handle all real estate matters, recently it has been most active in finance work, including advising HSBC on the $150m refinancing of Torre Diana in Mexico City; and Santander, Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal, Banco del Bajio and Banco Monex on a MXN$2.43bn financing to BeGrand for the development and construction of BeGrand Reforma, a residential and office project on the Reforma corridor in Mexico City. Trujillo leads the team with key support coming from Jose Visozo and Ignacio Pesqueira who both combine their real estate practices with financing and corporate activity, while also being able to call on the firm’s other departments as needed. Other clients include Prudential (PGIM – Prudential Global Investment Management), Blackstone, FINSA, Acosta Verde, Macquarie, Promecap, Artha Capital, Acciona Parque Reforma, Walton Street Capital, Alignmex Real Estate Capital, Banamex, Azora Capital, Grupo Sordo Madaleno, BK Partners, Fibra HD, and Planigrupo.

González Calvillo, SC fields a ‘strong team, with good focus and a practical approach’. Nineteen lawyers (including seven partners) handle real estate matters, assisting developers, lenders, banks, pension funds, REITs, and companies with investments on transactions and financing, leasing and property management, as well as with tax structuring and project development, including infrastructure. José Ignacio Rivero Andere represented a company of the MSD Capital group, Terrae Cognitio, in the mediation, negotiation, drafting and execution of a settlement agreement with the Homeowners’ Association of Palmilla, a real estate development in Cabo San Lucas; and acted as counsel to Olympus Capital Asia Credit, as lender, on the granting of a $39m loan to Vivimed Labs UK which included a mortgage over a property owned by the client’s Mexican subsidiary. Alfredo Chávez Goyeneche assisted Canamex International with obtaining a $52m syndicated loan from SabCapital and Banorte to fund the remodelling and expansion of the Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa Hotel, in Cabo San Lucas, as well as the construction of a new luxury tower connected to the resort. In ongoing work, Chávez also assisted Regus Management with its development plans throughout the country, and Reichmann International with the management and operation of its buildings in the capital. Also a key partner, Jorge Cervantes Trejo has expertise in – among other areas – project finance and infrastructure projects, and handles work for a major real estate investment management firm, including sales of portfolios and joint ventures for the sale of assets. In other ongoing work, Gonzalo Vargas Ateca continued to represent Proyectos del Norte Avviare in the acquisition of properties according to the company’s development plans, including due diligence analysis, planning, construction, operation, coordination and management of the various projects. Key support comes from of counsel Erika Olguín (who works with Cervantes), and senior associates Paulina Sellerier (who works with Chávez). Clients include Alsis Funds, Olympus Capital Asia Credit, Urbi Desarrollos Urbanos, and Google.

Boutique firm Ibarra, del Paso, Gallego y Berezowsky, S.C. has been building an impressive roster of clients in its real estate practice. A recent example of this is the advice it gave to Marriott Vacations Worldwide on the negotiation of an office space lease agreement for its regional call centre in Mexico. The team of 12 lawyers (including two partners) principally handles transactional matters but has also been developing an associated projects practice, which relies on the firm’s environmental law and energy and infrastructure expertise. A case in point was the lawyers' advice to ATCO Gas on real estate and regulatory issues related to the construction of a natural gas pipeline to supply the Francisco Pérez Ríos power plant near Tula, Hidalgo. In a move reflecting the current trend towards regionalisation, the firm has also built a network of local partner firms across Latin America, as well as in the US, Spain and Germany. Other mandates saw the team assist Grupo IGS, Grupo Radio Fórmula, and Palem Partners with their respective property acquisitions across the country. Name partner Carlos Ibarra leads the team, supported by key practitioner Gerardo Gallego, who handles corporate matters, and senior associate Alejandra Gutiérrez who covers corporate real estate, including development, leasing, financing and securitization. Luis A Leuchter left the firm. Other clients include Braskem Idesa, Hilton Grand Vacations, JLL (formerly Jones Lang LaSalle), and Wework.

Sánchez Devanny’s seven-strong real estate team punches above its weight, advising an impressive roster of clients on leasing, acquisitions and sales, financing, insurance and joint ventures; as well as with the preparation and execution of real estate trusts; the execution of all types of construction, infrastructure, and development related services agreements; and regulatory, urban, zoning and ejido matters, among others. In the retail sector, the team continued to advise Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and Sally Beauty Supply on their expansion in the country – including leases for 11 new flagship stores and the construction and opening of eight new premises; and the closing new leases for 30 new stores, respectively. In the agricultural sector it assisted avocado exporter West Pak Avocado with the acquisition of farm land in the state of Jalisco; and in the industrial sector it acted for auto-part manufacturer Metal Technologies on the acquisition, construction and set up of a new manufacturing facility in San Luis Potosi (value $60m); and Acument Global Technologies with the establishment of a new manufacturing facility in the state of Nuevo León. Based in Monterrey, practice head Rafael Villamar-Ramos led on all cases, with key support from associate Alfredo Villarreal Hansmann, also on all cases. In June 2018 Diego Gómez-Haro Katznelson joined the firm as partner in the Mexico City office, having previously been general counsel for The Blackstone Group. Other clients include Dr August Oetker, Uline, Libbey, Lowes, and Suzuki Garpytthan.

Offering a broad spectrum of services in the practice and an integrated working approach that covers all areas of relevant expertise, Solcargo has been growing its real estate practice with some recent new lawyer hires. The team of six recently advised Akivinta on the $20m sale of property located in the Reforma district of Mexico City, as well as on several other multimillion-dollar transactions in the hospitality and office sectors; and Compañia Casa Dragones de Mexico on a $13m land acquisition in Jalisco for the construction of a distillery plant for the processing of agave into tequila, a mandate complicated by denomination of origin issues and requiring additional energy, regulatory, corporate and tax expertise. The team is led by Luis González and Fernando Eraña, both undertake corporate and M&A work as well as real estate, with Eraña also having a finance practice. The solid second line includes senior associates Juan Carlos Izaza (who acted for the PA Consulting Group on its Mexico City offices’ operation), Lydia Solis, and Rodrigo Antonio Muñoz. Other work included advising on sales and acquisitions, due diligence and real estate finance. Additional clients include Phoenix International Corporation and Nautic Partners.

White & Case S.C.’s ‘excellent’ practice handles all real estate matters, including associated finance, particulary infrastructure projects where the team often calls on support from the firm’s environmental law practice. Working in conjunction with real estate, finance and capital markets specialist Vicente Corta, practice co-head Alvaro Garza Galván advised Fibra Shop on multiple acquisitions, notably the $76m acquisition of shopping centre "La Perla" in Jalisco, the $22m acquisition of shopping centre "Sentura" in Tlanepantla, state of Mexico, and the $145m acquisition of shopping centre "Puerta La Victoria" in Querétaro. The partners assisted the same client with the regulatory procedure required to increase the maximum amount of its 2015-established dual programme from MXN$5bn to MXN$8bn, as well as with the second and third offerings therein. In this case, support came from Carlos Mainero who was also present on the firm’s highlight deal, representing Altán Redes in negotiating each of its master tower lease agreements, allowing the client to comply with its contractual obligations under its PPP agreement with the Mexican Government regarding mobile phone coverage. This case was led by Iker Arriola and Raúl Fernández-Briseno, who have since moved to Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. and Mayer Brown Mexico, S.C., respectively. Key support comes from counsel and practice co-head Pedro Morales, who also heads the firm’s environmental law practice. He (in conjunction with corporate and banking partner Francisco Garcia Naranjo) assisted Sonoco with the leases for its Mexican operations. Other clients include Grupo Barramar Turbana and Kansas City Southern Mexico. Associate Rodrigo Avendaño moved to Cuatrecasas.

Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C. works on both stand-alone real estate matters and on ones that form part of wider corporate mandates. The team recently assisted PPG Industries with the sale of its Plaka production plant to Knauf; and advised Crown Holdings subsidiary Vichisa on its $200m investment for the construction of a glass container production plant in the state of Chihuahua. Four partners and four associates handle real estate matters at the firm, which has offices in Mexico City, Monterrey and Querétaro and recently established a presence in León, and the group covers the full range of practice area issues, including communal property (ejidos) and constitutional restrictions on the ownership of land by non-Mexicans. Daniel del Rio combines his real estate practice with corporate and transactional activity and also covers environmental law; Juan Jose Lopez de Silanes also handles real estate, corporate and mergers and acquisitions, while Juan Carlos Serra has a specialisation in mining, energy and infrastructure.

Three partners and four associates handle real estate at Cervantes Sainz, S.C., with one of the practice’s main clients being PGIM (formerly PREI), for which the team has recently undertaken due diligence and the acquisition of approximately 250,000 square metres of land in the states of Mexico, Guanajuato and Chihuahua, as well as the leasing of several industrial properties located in the states of Mexico and Queretaro. These mandates were led by Daniel Saltzberg, with support from key associate Ximena Hernández. The pair also represents TERRAFINA, Alignmex Real Estate Capital, and Prologis, and acted for BayWare in the due diligence of 988 hectares located across the country as well as the acquisition of 488 hectares located in Guanajuato. Key practitioner Manuel Corona continued to advise Riberalta on the negotiation, structuring and development of a 31-unit condominium building in the Polanco district of Mexico City; and Hanesbrands on obtaining regulatory permits for a zoning change regarding its facility in the state of Mexico so as to permit retail sales. Luis A Cervantes is also noted; his broad practice includes structuring complex finance transactions and disputes, including in the real estate sector.

The ‘strong’ real estate practice at Creel Abogados, SC handles transactions in the residential, industrial, commercial and tourism sectors, covering the purchase, sale and lease of real estate assets; the design and structuring of condominium property and time sharing regimes; and the development, construction, management and operation of real estate projects, as well as the obtaining of related permits and authorisations; it also assists investors with private and public real estate funds and in joint ventures. Jorge Torres leads a team of three other partners (Gustavo Struck Creel, Alfonso Razú A and Patricio Martinez O) and three associates. The group continued to advise regular clients Bonafont/Danone on the lease agreements of more than 45 water plants, warehouses and distribution centres throughout the country; Corporación Inmobiliaria Vesta on its acquisition of Parque Industrial Jint and a property in the state of San Luis Potosi (of over 400,000 square metres), for the development of industrial plant; and Edgewell Personal Care México on the negotiation of lease agreements for new warehouses and offices throughout Mexico and the re-negotiation of existing lease agreements. In other work, the team assisted automotive component supplier Edscha (of the Spanish Gestamp Group), with due diligence of its real estate properties and their potential restructuring; and non-bank financial entity (or SOFOM) Creze on the early termination of the lease agreement of its main office in Mexico City and the negotiation and execution of a replacement agreement. Other clients include Exclusive Resorts, Grupo Desarrolla, Kerzner International, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, and Westmont Hospitality Group.

The ‘superb’ real estate team at DLA Piper Gallastegui y Lozano offers a very diversified selection of services that covers retail, offices, residential, hospitality, industrial, agrarian and mixed-use real estate matters, assisting clients with all aspects of their projects, including tax-related structuring. For one client the practice ‘clearly stands out for its in-depth knowledge and customer service’. The six-strong team continued to act for main Mexican developer (and key client) Grupo Sordo Madaleno on a number of matters, including acquisitions; other work included sales and divestments, trust and joint ventures agreements, lease and built-to-suit agreements. Dedicated partner Maria Gabriela Alaña Castro leads the team; she is ‘a high calibre attorney who has a complete understanding of clients’ needs, therefore she always provides sound advice and clear strategies for the overall life of the project’, stated one client. María Eugenia Ríos also lends support to the practice, covering the tourism and hospitality sector. Other clients include Marriott International, Four Seasons, Banamex, Buenavista Hospitality Group, Fairmont Hotels, Finova Financial Corporation, Mayakoba Thai, PREI and Sunterra Corporation.

Goodrich, Riquelme y Asociados fields a real estate team of nine lawyers who work across the full range of real estate advice, including finance, REITs, debt and equity financing, development, construction, leasing and asset management, tenant and occupier-related matters, development and regeneration, and cross-border investments. The practice continues to work on ongoing mandates for clients such as Walmart, automotive company Sarrel, The Cabaña, and Novus Nutrition. Luis Uriel Pérez leads the team and he has a range of corporate expertise to accompany his real estate activity, principally on trusts, investment and guaranties. He is supported by senior associates José Luis Vega and Astrid Galaviz, who each have over 10 years’ experience in the sector, and focus on hospitality and tourism, and contracts, leasing and the commercial segment of the practice, respectively.

Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. suffered a blow in April 2018 with the departure of its real estate team, a five-lawyer group led by Antonio Diez de Bonilla moving to Greenberg Traurig, S.C.; and Luis Moreno Treviño and Roxana Burciaga Contreras to Thompson & Knight LLP. The practice is now led by Alberto de la Peña, who heads the Mexico Practice Group and divides his time between the firm’s Dallas and Mexico City offices. Nevertheless, the practice continues to boast an impressive list of clients, including Accor Hotels, Bancomext, Toyota Motors, Prudential Real Estate Investors Latin America, North American Development Bank, Desarrolladora del Parque, Greystar, Grupo Lar, Hasta Capital, ICM Immobilien, Medica Sur, and Melia Hotels (The Sol Group Corporation). Working in conjunction with some of the firm’s other offices, the team recently advised Hyatt Hotels on its $50m investment in Oasis Luxury Rentals.

Kuri Breña, Sánchez Ugarte y Aznar’s real estate team is ‘one of the most knowledgeable and experienced in the sector’ according to one client. ‘Communications, response times and matter management have always been the best. The lawyers handle complicated transactions and they have always delivered above expectations’. Guillermo Garay and Luis Octavio Núñez co-head a team of three associates. The pair teamed up to advise Grupo Televisa on the commercial arrangement for the long-term lease and development of a large multipurpose commercial centre (retail, hotel and offices) at Estadio Azteca, in Mexico City; and Garay handled additional agreements concerning property acquisitions and the sale of a mortgage portfolio. Núñez ‘is one of the most pro-business lawyers in the sector. He has expertise, legal knowledge and creativity in describing his legal work. His main strength is the vision of service that he has. He understands that a legal advisor must act not only as that, but as a true partner in reaching the goals aimed at by clients’. His clients include Vinte Viviendas Integrales, whom he advised on the closing and first disbursement of an $18.5m loan (backed with a guaranty trust including real estate for housing development projects), granted by the IFC; and on a second MXN$200m financing granted by Banregio to the client’s joint venture with OHL Mexico, for the development of a residential project in Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen (secured by a guaranty trust including the real estate being developed). On both these cases Núñez worked with finance partner Rodrigo López Márquez; while on the advice given to Grupo Martí regarding several long-term leases for shops, gyms and office space, he collaborated with name partner Daniel Kuri Breña, who also handles finance, capital markets and corporate/M&A. Other clients include Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriores.

Real estate forms one of the pillars of the small but impressive Romo Paillés, S.C.. The team advises on developments and transactions in the residential, retail and hospitality sectors, with a special focus on real estate due diligence. Recent highlights involved assisting leading Latin American e-commerce company Mercado Libre, on the due diligence procedures and negotiations of lease agreements for their two distribution centres located in Mexico City’s metropolitan area. The team has also assisted Walmart with its expansion in Mexico, principally in terms of agreements for properties located in the states of Baja California, Tabasco, and Yucatán, the latter involving revision of compliance with the regulations of the National Institute for Anthropology & History (INAH), since the estate is located in an archaeological site. María Teresa Paillés, who has over 28 years’ experience in real estate matters, leads the team; she is supported by Rafael Romo and María Esther Rey. Associates Elizabeth Tovar and Eduardo Espinosa de los Monteros joined the firm.

The SMPS Legal real estate team stands at seven members and offers the full range of real estate advisory services, as well as assistance to financial institutions regarding real estate finance. The team represented T69 in a corporate restructuring that involved establishing a condominium regime and the development and commercialisation of a large building project in Mexico City (consisting of offices, housing and hospitality space). Calling on the practice’s energy experience, another work highlight involved the negotiation of a long-term land lease agreement related to the development of a power cogeneration plant for Huerta Real. Alejandro Ortiz Prieto co-heads the department and divides his time between real estate and corporate matters; he has a special focus on assisting companies entering the Mexican and Latin American markets. Working from both Mexico City and Dallas, practice co-head Eduardo Pizarro Suárez also has a wide-ranging corporate practice; he led the majority of the firm’s recent mandates. Of particular note was Pizarro’s assistance to Cimbra Capital, involving due diligence, land acquisition negotiation, financing, legal tax structuring, development, and sales related to the client’s two current developments in Mexico City. Moisés Shehoah was promoted from counsel to partner in early 2018; his work concentrates on transactions and planning legal structures for real estate construction projects where he can draw on his experience as former legal counsel at developer Grupo Danhos. ‘Quick and capable’ associate Andres Pizarro Suarez also covers the full range of real estate and corporate matters; he spent several years working at a notary office. Associate Diana Sologuren also offers valuable support.

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  • Notorious Marks

    Notorious marks or the declaration thereof, has always been an issue widely discussed in Mexico by the IP legal community. This is so because provisions of the Paris Convention dealing with this topic have for a long time been uses as an effort to cancel or nullify trademarks registered by Mexican authorities without really making an extensive evaluation of proposed denominations and without examining in depth if such marks may be potentially affecting rights acquired by third parties elsewhere. So, a specific regulation and legal frame that at least tries to resolve this issue is always a good start in the right direction.

    By Ignacio Dominguez Torrado Uhthoff, Gomez Vega & Uhthoff, S.C. Why a new value? Is Mexico avoiding the economic fallout that the world may be facing? In Mexico franchises are worth more? Is Mexico not a country that the global economic standstill is or will affect? The answer is, not really. Are Franchises in Mexico currently experiencing a boom? Perhaps. Are Franchises becoming an important aspect in Mexican economy? Certainly.

    Advertising in Mexico is governed by multiple bodies of law including for at least seven Federal Laws, five Regulations also of Federal application, a number of the so-called Mexican Official Standards (NOM's) and certain other laws and regulations applicable into specific States within the Republic of Mexico. All of them are focusing to establish the form and manners for producing and communicating advertising of products and services in Mexico.

    It has been well publicized in the Mexican media over the last few months that the General Customs Administration (AGA) and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) are planning to launch a customs trademark registry, as a short-term solution to increase protection for trademark owners against the import of infringing and counterfeit products.

    The evolution in the protection and enforcement of IP rights has also reached the Mexican practice. The traditional ways of defending a registered trademark on a non use contentious procedure have developed.

    By Jose Luis Ramos-Zurita

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