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The ‘pre-eminent, full spectrumCreel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. is ‘the top law firm in Mexico – its expensive, but very good’ and has ‘a sufficiently big team to handle big deals such as buying or selling large portfolios’. In addition to the ‘vertically integrated departments and deep bench’, clients also appreciate lawyer’s ‘swift responses’ and ‘concrete solutions to the questions raised’; ‘I’ve always obtained a successful outcome when they’ve assisted on an operation of ours’, noted one client. The ‘powerhouse’ team is 20-strong, including four partners and one of counsel, and advises both local and international developers, promoters, tourism and hospitality companies, and investors (including funds) on the full range of real estate matters, from acquisitions, divestitures and leasing to development, permitting, fractional ownership and condominium regimes, and management and operations. Offering ‘great knowledge of the real estate sector in Mexico’, practice co-head Carlos de Icaza is also ‘a top lawyer for environmental issues’ and provides ‘really personalised service’; his recent mandates include acting as counsel to O’Connor Capital Partners on the MXN$133m sale of its equity interest in Centro San Miguel to affiliates of Consorcio ARA; and advising Mexico Retail Properties (MRP) and partners, on the $51m acquisition of 99% of the co-ownership rights of a property known as Parque Hundido for the creation of a condominium regime and a mixed-use development. Based in Monterrey, ‘up-and-coming’ young partner Badir Treviño-Mohamed advised Macquarie Mexican REIT on its $21.7m acquisition of two industrial properties and adjacent land from Inmobiliaria Los Bravos; and acted as deal counsel to Prologis México (and Deutsche Bank, as trustee of Fibra Prologis) on the structuring and sale of two industrial buildings to Fibra Prologis. Treviño teamed up with Carlos del Río to advise new client Artha Controladora IV on its $92m acquisition of 18 real estate properties across Mexico from LaSalle Industrial, involving a master purchase agreement and simultaneous execution (the firm also advised Artha on the financing and antitrust clearance); and del Río led counsel to PGIM Real Estate (formerly PREI) on the MXN$4.2bn sale of six residential towers in Monterrey and Mexico City to CIM Group. In other work, Monterrey-based practice co-head Francisco Montalvo advised CKD II (formed by FINSA and Walton Street Capital) on all aspects of the purchase of nine industrial buildings across northern and north-central Mexico, including a COFECE antitrust filing. Key senior associates include the ‘highly specialised and very capable’ Carlos Yamamoto, and Alfonso Pulido who is highlighted for his ‘commitment and availability at all times’; he’s ‘very proactive and resourceful’. Other clients include Terrafina, GE Capital Real Estate, Black Creek Capital, FINSA, IGS Mexico, NSC Asesores, Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Planigrupo.

Being ‘always willing and able to staff adequately to cover our needs in terms of expertise and time responsiveness’, Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes S.C.is also very strong in its ability to coordinate with law firms abroad, making complex transactions easier to accomplish and less costly in terms of expenses’. Moreover, its lawyers ‘availability exceeds expectations’ and ‘its staff have a good understanding of business process that facilitates and expedites negotiations, document preparation and closure of transactions’. The 14-strong team is led by four partners and gives comprehensive advice on the full range of real estate work (including environmental aspects), across the hospitality, housing/ retail/ office, and industrial sectors. Of late it has been particularly active representing major developers including Be Grand, IDU, Grupo IPB, Acciona Parque Reforma and Casas Javer. ‘Smart, efficient and detail-oriented’, dedicated partner Lorenza Langarica focuses primarily on the hospitality sub-sector and can be ‘counted on to provide an excellent work product with timely responses on all matters’; she ‘fights hard for good results and achieves them even when the odds are stacked against’. Langarica’s recent mandates include advising developer Hoteles Parks Hospitality on management agreements with Hilton and Grupo Posadas; Inmobiliaria Xtra Hoteles on the restructuring of its Adquisiciones Cancún-Vallarta (ACV) joint venture with Marriott; and – in conjunction with Javier Cortina – acting as counsel to the Muller family on a joint venture with developer Abilia for a 180,000m² mixed-use project. Like Langarica, Cortina is largely dedicated to real estate matters, and specializes in acting for major developers, particularly, of late, Be Grand, which he advised on numerous land acquisitions in southern Mexico City for the development of an 80,000m² housing project; as well as on the negotiation and execution of multiple joint venture agreements, including for an 80,000m² high-end housing project, the development of a 28,000m² triple-A office building, and – with Grupo Ambientes – a 58,000m² mixed-use development. Founding partner Pablo Mijares’ participation in the sector is primarily with Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, which he advises on all its Mexican real estate activity; most recently the negotiation and implementation of a complex divestiture structure for Mexican real estate vehicles Pangea and Supra Terra (aggregate value: $200m), which are co-owned by Temasek and the Oleszcovski family. Eugenio Macouzet is also active in the sector and recently acted as counsel to a number of real estate credit funds. Also noted are of counsel Jaime Cortés Rocha, and experienced associates Edgardo Mendoza, Said Vite and Fernando Molina, who was formerly in-house at Prudential Real Estate Investors and joined the firm in 2015. As one real estate client commented: ‘Every lawyer I have worked with at the firm is professional and provides excellent advice and work product. They are all well-rounded and highly competent commercial lawyers, but their personalities, areas of expertise, and styles are all different, so they always have someone who can solve our particular problem and situation, and they provide us many options’. Other matters included assisting Fibra Monterrey with building acquisition in Guadalajara. Clients include Acciona, Ball Corporation, Casas Javer, Grupo Alos, Grupo Presidente, (Intercontinental), IENova, Lares Desarrolladores, Lasalle Investment Management and Pulso Inmobiliario.

Peers acknowledge the ‘deep experience and expertise’ of Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC’s real estate team, the core of which has been working together for over 20 years. The practice group handles the full range of real estate services’ across the retail, residential, hospitality and industrial subsectors, and has particular expertise across the transactional and finance aspects of the market. Despite a general downturn in Fibra activity, the team’s recent work has been dominated by Vanessa Franyutii and Alejandro Rojas V’ ongoing representation of FibraHotel (the first Mexican REIT focused on the business hotel sub-sector), in an extensive series of both property (for hotel development) and hotel acquisitions – with an aggregate value of over $100m. Specific cases include the ‘sharp, business-oriented’ Franyutti’s advice on the MXN$185m long-term lease of a property from Grupo Gicsa (a transaction rendered complex by the fact that Gicsa is the concessionaire of the mall where the property is located, not its owner, necessitating an original legal structure); and the ‘sophisticated’ Rojas’ counsel on the MXN$335m acquisition of a property for the development of two hotels in the Via 515 mixed-use project in Mexico City. Other work saw senior partner Michell Nader S advise BBVA Bancomer, as administrative agent of a syndicate comprising BBVA Bancomer, Santander and Sabdell, on a dual-tranche, dual currency real estate development financing with an aggregate value of $142m. Eduardo Villanueva O advised SabCapital on the financing of a land acquisition for the acquisition of industrial facilities; and Hans P Goebel, Javier Arreola E and Adrián López G have also been active in finance-side work. Other matters include: real estate project structuring, property acquisition in Mexico City, and advising a hotel group on leasing matters, corporate restructuring issues and regulatory work. Key associates include Lucia Laganá and Maria Hugues. Clients include GE Real Estate México, Grupo GDI, Metlife, MSD Capital, Inmobiliaria Helmer, Verde Realty, Vertex and Aerovías de México.

Market mainstay Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. has over 40 years’ involvement in the real estate sector: its ‘attention is efficient’, its responses ‘rapid’ and its ‘prices competitive’, and its lawyers ‘know the industry in depth’ and ‘can always propose solutions to the issue in question’. Moreover, the firm’s establishment of a tax practice in early 2017 will produce notable synergies on real estate transactional matters. The 22-strong practice group includes five partners, most notably practice head Rodrigo Conesa Labastida (‘his knowledge of the industry and his sense of the market are unmatched’); ‘finance wizardJean Paul Farah Chajín; and Javier Domínguez Torrado, whose experience includes the structuring of FIBRA Monterrey and handling several of its portfolio acquisitions. Recent work saw Conesa lead on matters including advising a real estate investment trust on the multi-hundred-million dollar acquisition of a portfolio of industrial warehouses; high-end office and industrial plant leasing issues in Mexico City and the state of México, respectively; land acquisitions and sales (notably for mixed-use projects); and assisting a financial entity on its first investments in the Mexican real estate sector via an international fund. Other matters include commercial leases; minority investments in the hospitality sector; a high-end tourism real estate development in Nayarit; and the multibillion-peso acquisition of a portfolio of class-A residential properties. A ‘healthy’ second tier includes senior associates Joaquín Pani and energy and infrastructure-specialised Cecilia Legaspi; and environmental associate Christian Rosales, currently undertaking his LLM. Formerly at Banco de Mexico, senior associate Cristian E Sánchez joined the firm in late 2016 and participates on finance-side real estate matters.

With seven partners, part of a 35-strong team spread across the firm’s Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Tijuana offices, Baker McKenzie S.C. is ‘an excellent ally, that is always committed to our objectives 100%’, according to one client; ‘it’s the only firm that I recommend’, noted another. The practice attends both local and international clients across the industrial, commercial, residential, and tourism sectors, acting on both the financing and development sides of the practice equally; it has a particularly strong profile in the industrial sub-sector. The practice also seeks to differentiate itself by handling mandates from an industry perspective (necessarily interdisciplinary), with a noted emphasis on risk assessment. In Tijuana (‘the B&M team in Tijuana is head & shoulders above all others’), Jose Larroque is chair of the firm’s global real estate practice group. He and senior associate Raul Escamilla-Sanroman are ‘hardworking, have excellent “practical knowledge” on how real estate deals go together, and understand the market in which we are working’. Chair of the regional (Latin American) real estate practice, Monterrey-based Juan Bernardo Garcia-Garza has over 20 years’ experience, and as national practice group coordinator has forged a team that ‘gives excellent advice’, is ‘flexible in the face of necessary changes’, is ‘timely and good on delivery’, and ‘has an extensive network of government contacts that facilitates the process of obtaining permits and licenses’. Crucially, the lawyers are ‘very good at finding pragmatic/practical solutions to the typical problems that always come up in closing deals’. Also noted are Gaspar Gutierrez-Centeno, for transactional matters in the sector; Guadalajara-based Fabian Monsalve-Agraz; and senior associate Gabriela Saucedo who is ‘very professional’, ‘understands urgency’ and ‘provides excellent advice on real estate matters’. Recent mandates saw Garcia advise a real estate developer on the development of several mixed-use residential, commercial and service buildings, a mandate involving due diligence and the drafting of trust agreements, condominium regime regulations and commercialization contracts; Gutierrez advise on a $200m hotel-complex development, and a multi-hundred million dollar sale in the hospitality sector; Monsalve assist with the establishment of a new $100m pharmaceutical facility in Jalisco; and Larroque handle a complex multijurisdictional property allocation matter. In early 2017 the firm hired Eduardo Bravo Senderos as a senior associate of the practice group in the firm’s Mexico City office. Since research concluded the team has also reincorporated Ignacio Alonso, who returns to the firm after three years at various other real estate practices.

The ‘efficient’ seven-strong team at Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.consistently out-performs its larger competitors’ and has recently been involved in a string of top-end ($100m–$1bn) transactional and project development mandates. ‘A go-to attorney in the sector’, practice head Antonio Diez de Bonilla Martinez is a former chairman of the legislative council of the Mexican division of the Urban Land Institute; and is both ‘hugely experienced’ and ‘a pleasure to work with’. Key support comes from Gerardo Carrillo Valadez, who, with over 15 years’ experience, made partner in 2016. While not, strictly speaking, a member of the practice group, office managing partner Luis Moreno Treviño is a past chair of the real estate law section of the IBA, and ‘has extensive sector-knowledge’; the team can also call on the firm’s wider practice group of approximately 75 lawyers as required. Headline matters saw the team counsel PGIM Real Estate (formerly PREI) on the $85m acquisition of a company that owns the Nuevo Sur shopping centre in Monterrey from developer MIRA; assist Greystar with the due diligence and MXN$600m acquisition of the Americas mixed-use project in Guadalajara; and, in the hospitality sector, represent Sol Group on the negotiation of a $100m hotel management agreement for a Paradisus-brand hotel in Playa Mujeres, Quintana Roo. The team also assisted new client Desarrolladora del Parque on the acquisition of Trust beneficiary rights and the establishment of a joint venture with Corporativo GBM, Tierra Fund and Inmobiliaria Sabro for a $100m office development in Pedregal (Mexico City); and on two $50m joint ventures with Grupo Jorisa for the development of offices in Polanco and Bosques de las Lomas, again in Mexico City. Active clients include Hyatt Hotels, Blackstone Real Estate Special Situation Advisors, Credit Suisse Mexico (Asset Management Division), Accor Hotels and Grupo Questro, along with new clients ICM Immobilien, Hasta Capital and North American Development Bank.

A ‘very good firmHogan Lovells BSTL, S.C. has lawyers with ‘strong technical knowledge in their respective specialities’, and who always achieve ‘a grasp of the business matter in its entirety’. ‘I use the firm for projects of particular sensitivity or that are highly confidential’ noted one real estate client, ‘because of the certainty and judicial security that it provides’. The 17-strong practice works throughout the commercial, retail and residential subsectors but – especially as FIBRA-related activity has slowed – has been particularly active in the industrial subsector. ‘A very fine technical lawyer’, practice head Álejandro Domínguez de Pedro ‘is very sharp when it comes to the revision of documentation and in the opinions he offers’. Moreover, ‘his team has excellent knowledge and provides first class attention to the client’. Mexico City office managing partner Juan Francisco Torres Landa is also a ‘well-known figure’ for real estate matters; and Monterrey-based partner Guillermo González is particularly active in industrial work, which of late has principally involved issues relating to the automotive sector. Other recent mandates include high level real estate due diligence and advice regarding the acquisition of Vitro’s Mexican subsidiaries provided to Owens Illinois, and counsel to Lloyd’s of London on a lease agreement for its Mexico City offices. The team also continues to work with Walmart de México regarding its ongoing expansion, and handled some 28 projects during the course of the last year, involving primarily acquisitions, and lease agreements and renewals. Other key team members include counsel Fernando Medina Luna who is active on the administrative side of the practice with both investors and developers. Additional work of note includes securing municipal operation notices, permits and licenses in relation to a pipeline project that has required new designs, instruments and considerable administrative and regulatory challenges. Clients include Ford Motor Company, Parks Desarrolladora, Gates de México, Minera Real del Oro, McEwen Mining and AstraZeneca.

Demonstrating ‘great experience in the sector’ and ‘good quality serviceJones Day is ‘very proactive when it comes finding solutions to the problems that arise’. The team includes five partners and advises across the sector on matters ranging from due diligence and land development to complex portfolio operations, real estate investment vehicles and advice on agrarian land issues; the practice also offers associated environmental permitting, compliance and anti-corruption services. Group head Manuel Romanostands out for his experience and his conciliatory language in operations’, and handles matters including acquisitions and sales; construction, operations and management; commercial, industrial and residential developments; infrastructure matters and contentious work. Fellow practice partners Mauricio Llamas, Guillermo E Larrea, Fernanda Valdés and Rodrigo Gómez bring expertise in the environmental, compliance, real estate-finance and tax matters, respectively, to ensure ‘360-degree coverage’ that is delivered in ‘good time’ and at ‘efficient cost’. Recent matters saw the team advise Holley Group on the acquisition of 150 hectares of land for the development of a $500m mixed-use industrial park in Nuevo León; and Crowne Group on the MXN$257.6m sale-and-lease-back of an industrial facility in Matamoros. Ongoing headline work includes advising Toyota Motors on the development of its new $1bn plant in León, Guanajuato, including land acquisition, permitting matters and advice on agrarian law issues. Other ongoing matters include real estate due diligence and permitting work on behalf of Lowe’s in cities including Torreon, Santiago de Querétaro and León. Other matters included leasing contracts, due diligence, sales, and residential development projects. Infrastructure and energy associate Salvador Gallo is also active in the practice. Clients include Procter & Gamble, Toyota Corporation, Mision XII, Acciona, Cardinal Health, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, RadioShack, NII Holdings and Olympic Steel.

Full service player Santamarina y Steta’s offices in Monterrey, Querétaro and Tijuana, as well as Mexico City, position it strongly to attend real estate matters throughout the Republic. The ‘capable’ 10-strong practice group includes three partners, including Gloria Park, whose practice gives the team considerable penetration into the energy sector (particularly renewables) as well as participation in mandates with a significant or complex environmental aspect. Aarón Levet has over 25 years’ experience and, based in Tijuana, his practice has a strong (US-related) tourism and hospitality component; he acted as counsel to BMO Harris Bank on the acquisition of condominium units in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora; acted for a referred client on the drafting and negotiation of documentation relating to the acquisition of properties in Tulum, Quintana Roo; and advised Intrawest Resort Ownership on the sale of its trust beneficiary rights concerning several units and villas located in its resort in Zihuatanejo. In Mexico City, the ‘highly active’ and ‘strongly recommended’, Vicente Grau advised Prologis Property México on the refinancing of a loan and an associated guarantee restructuring, involving both the release and acquisition of properties; auto components manufacturer, Fukoku, with the selection and acquisition of properties, and the subsequent construction and development of said premises; and Haitian Huayuan Mexico on the lease of its premises in the State of Mexico and associated due diligence. Park’s ‘multifaceted practice’ saw her lead advice to IDOM on the feasibility assessment of potential project zones (from the legal real estate and environmental perspectives) according to the real estate provisions of the Law of Economic Special Zones; and Invex Infraestructura on the environmental and technical matters associated with a major Mexican wind energy project in Puebla. She also assisted Ellwood Specialty Metals establish its business in Queretaro, including the land purchase, construction and operation of the industrial facilities. Associates Claudia Rodríguez C, Isaac Zatarain, Andrea Cavazzani S and Miguel Ernesto Beltrán are all key team members. The practice also works on an ongoing basis with Home Depot Mexico on all real estate matters related to its expansion in Mexico; other mandates included the sale-and-lease-back of a corporate headquarters; real estate feasibility studies for public projects; and investment strategy review on behalf of developers.

Real estate has been a core practice at Woodhouse Lorente Ludlow since its founding, and it constitutes an integral part of the firm’s work across the corporate, energy, projects (including finance), environmental and public law sectors. ‘Rapid and proactive’, the team is ‘efficient’ and demonstrates ‘considerable and deep knowledge of the sector’; clients appreciate its ‘professionalism’, the ‘minimal rotation of staff’ and the lawyers’ ‘great personal manner’. Head of the real estate and projects practices, the ‘highly effectiveEnrique Lorente Ludlow spent over a decade in-house in the real estate and construction sector prior to moving into private practice; he and fellow name partner Derek Woodhouse, who heads up the firm’s infrastructure practice, have strongly complimentary practices and have worked together for almost a decade. Support comes from key senior associate César Lechuga, also a founding member of the firm. Recent mandates include advising ROSVA on its joint venture with Opera Desarrolladora for the MXN$300m development of a residential building of 11,200m²; and ongoing work includes acting for the Mexico City government on the implementation of joint venture with two private investors for the MXN$1.4bn development of two mixed-use real estate projects (totalling 47,000m²) that will include the Tasqueña and Zaragoza transport hubs. Day-to-day matters include advising Deka Immobilien and Union Real Estate Investment on day to day leasing and administration of their respective real estate portfolios. Mario Morales joined Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Being ‘knowledgeable, responsive and professional’, Meritas alliance member Cuesta Campos y Asociados S.C.provides accurate and timely legal services’, is ‘very professional and thorough’ and comes ‘highly recommended’. Operating from offices in Guadalajara, Mexico City and El Bajío, the team is ‘very responsive’ and demonstrates ‘experience, knowledge and great quality of service’. It works across the sector on acquisitions and sales, urbanization and development, leasing, surface rights, usufruct and easements, and also handles real estate-associated tax and litigation issues. ‘A great lawyer – someone I would be happy and confident to recommend’, principal associate and practice head Berenice Soto García is ‘very quick and precise’ and ‘has lots of experience handling not only legal matters in the real estate field but also across the whole corporate practice’. Recent matters saw her and key partner Azucena Marin advise Flextronics International in Mexico on the expansion of its existing strategic partnership with Bose Corporation, involving the acquisition of Bose’s former manufacturing plant in San Luis Río Colorado; Toyo Ink on the acquisition of industrial land in the CLJ Industrial Park in Jalisco; and in conjunction with principal associate Miguel Angel Romero, counsel automotive system supplier iEE on the execution of a lease agreement. Founding partner Hugo Cuesta advised NIKE de Mexico on the development and operation of its commercial establishments; and advised Xin Point on the acquisition of an industrial property in Lados de Moreno, a mandate made more complex by environmental and water rights issues, an area where the team can call on of counsel Aciel Gaitan. The firm hired two new associates during 2016, but senior associate Rodrigo Antonio Muñoz moved to Solcargo. Clients include Daimler, Subway, Crocs, Kimberly-Clark and Desarrolladora Bali.

The merger of the former Rubio Villegas y Asociados with Ciudad Juárez-based EC Legal, formalised in June 2017, has resulted in the industrial investment-focused EC Legal Rubio Villegas, a 65-strong firm with offices in Mexico City, Cd. Juárez, Querétaro and Irapuato, and a ‘desk’ in León. Clients laud the firm’s services, noting ‘great attention to detail’, a ‘genuine business orientation’ and ‘magnificent customer relation skills’. Indeed, some regard it as providing ‘the same service level as large international firms but with a local touch and a sense of client-lawyer proximity’. ‘Very professional’ practice head Carlos Enríquez has some 35 years’ experience and is an expert on maquiladora regulations and foreign investment. Recent matters saw Enríquez advise TMW Enterprises on the $18m divestiture of 11 industrial facilities; advise Superior Industries on all aspects of a $100m brownfield project to acquire, develop and construct a major automotive car wheel manufacturing facility; as well as Michelin on the land acquisition for the development of a new tire plant in León. The practice also provides ongoing advice to Bafar Real Estate regarding its projects in Mexico, involving the acquisition of some 4.5 million square-feet of property across the country (with an aggregate value of over $50m), including multiple built-to-suit and office space developments and two turn-key educational projects. Other key team members include Renato Martínez (‘active and visible’) and Sergio de la Rocha (‘great attention to detail and availability’). Other matters include advising clients including Johnson Controls, Century Mold and Hisco on securing additional operational space, and all associated leasing matters. The ‘great team of experts and professionals’ also includes Cesar Ochoa, Fernando Holguin and Jaime O’Reilly. Corporación Inmobiliaria Vesta, TE Connectivity (Tyco), Safran Group, Profit Ingeniería Inmobiliaria, and Electrolux are all clients of the firm.

Clients who have experienced the ‘very responsive’ team’s ‘premier level of service’, ‘excellent insight into the industry’ and ‘appropriate fee arrangements’ comment: ‘I would highly recommend the real estate practice ofGalicia Abogados SC. With a strong emphasis on major, high-end work, the now six-strong practice group handles due diligence and legal risks, the negotiation and documentation of contracts for the acquisition, financing, leasing, development and operation of properties, and condominium and fractional ownership matters. Moreover, the firm has just opened a Monterrey office, which is likely to increase its real estate caseload in particular. Only a year old, the practice is already attracting truly heavyweight clients – such as PREI, Blackstone and CINTA – due to the experience and calibre of practice head Alejandro Trujillo. Clients speak of ‘a business oriented, hands-on problem solver and strategist with good risk-assessment skills’ who is ‘a true all-rounder’, had ‘deep in-house knowledge’ and is as ‘good on the technical aspects as on the commercial side…he’s truly first class’. Recent matters include advising new client CKD Walton Street Capital-FINSA on the closure of credit lines with an aggregate value of $120m (from Bancomext, Santander and Banorte) for the acquisition of industrial portfolios and the development of built-to-suit facilities. Trujillo can also call on Jose Visozo and Ignacio Pesqueira who both have extensive real estate experience; and has recourse to the competition, finance, environmental and other departments as required. Other clients include Alignmex Real Estate Capital, Fibra HD, Grupo Sordo Madaleno, Acosta Verde, Macquarie, Artha Capital, Banamex and BK Partners.

Primarily representing developers, lenders, REITs, domestic and foreign investors, and corporate participants in their real estate matters, González Calvillo, SC’s 20-strong team advises on financing, purchases, sales and leasing; construction and development, and the management and operation of property of all types. Recent matters saw José Ignacio Rivero counsel Alsis Funds on a MXN$44m financing to LV Desarrolladora for the acquisition of properties in the state of Mexico; and Jorge Cervantes advise a major real estate investment management firm on the $18m sale of the Viceroy Riviera Maya Hotel, and the ongoing $92m sale of its industrial building portfolio in Tijuana, Silao and Querétaro, to a private equity firm. ‘20-year veteran’ Alfredo Chávez Goyeneche (who primarily focuses on development work and also has an agribusiness aspect to his practice), assisted Reichmann International with the management and operation of various properties in Mexico City, including leasing matters; Regus Management regarding its new business structure and development plans (including property identification, acquisition, financing, development and management) for new business centre locations across the country; and also counselled Canamex International on the $70m financing of a new 5-star hotel in Los Cabos. Other ongoing matters include Gonzalo Vargas’ assistance to Proyectos del Norte Avviare throughout the full life cycle of its development projects, from due diligence and analysis through construction, development, operation and management. Other key figures include recently appointed of counsel Erika Olguín, and associates Paulina Sellerier and Eugenio Arnoux Arena. Clients include Baker Hughes, Google, Grupo Elipse, BBVA Bancomer, and Alsis Fund.

With ‘good market knowledge’ and ‘the capability to resolve issues that arise in the course of a transaction’, Greenberg Traurig, S.C. is ‘a strong participant’ in the real estate sector, particularly on finance-side matters, structuring and complex contractual work. A sometime senior counsel and compliance officer at GE Capital Real Estate, Miguel Moisés’ engagement in the sector is primarily on the finance side; he advised Banco Santander and Banco Bancomer on the MXN$1.3bn financing of the construction of the construction of the mixed-use ‘Manacar’ project; Banorte on the MXN$550m financing of a portfolio of income-generating retail properties; and the MXN$655m financing of the construction of the mixed-use ‘Paseo Central’ project in Chihuahua. Experienced corporate partner Victor Fríás advises Albany International on the ongoing development of its operations in Mexico, with recent matters including the establishment of a new manufacturing facility in Querétaro; counselled Eaton Corporation on the upgrading of its manufacturing facility in San Luis Potosí, including the acquisition of additional land; and is also acting on behalf of Transaction Strategies on a development and construction agreement for a significant real estate project in San Miguel Allende. Other matters saw office managing partner Jose Raz Guzman advise national housing agency, INFONAVIT and Concentradora Hipotecaria (manager of the first Mexican mortgage REIT: FHipo) on a MXN$4.12bn joint mortgage loan securitization; practice head Fernando Orrantia and Antonio A Robles were active in real estate-related renewable energy matters, among other work. Key associates include David Argueta; and specialised real estate associate Elizabeth Tovar is currently undertaking her LLM. Other matters include the restructuring of a condominium regime; the establishment of joint venture agreements, acquisitions and construction finance. Clients include The Related Group.

Clients predict ‘a bright future’ for growing firm Ibarra, del Paso, Gallego y Berezowsky, S.C.because of its lawyers’ attention to detail, commitment, fast service and great knowledge of Mexican real estate market’. With ‘excellent customer service and competitive fees’ as well as ‘very quick response times and 24/7 availability’, the team is particularly known for its transactional real estate activity but also has significant capabilities in the allied environmental, energy and corporate sectors. Hailed as ‘one of the brightest real estate lawyers in the country’, name partner and practice head Carlos Ibarra has ‘lots of experience’ and is ‘well known as a leader in the area’. Key partner-level support on the corporate side comes from ‘outstanding lawyer’ Gerardo Gallego; ‘business oriented and easy to work with’ he is ‘very responsive and proactive’. Recent work includes advising ATCO and its EPC contractor, Cocomex, on the easements and rights-of-way for the development of a natural gas pipeline in Hidalgo; Braskem Idesa on the acquisition of land from the Federal Government (via its CAPUFE agency) for the completion of its multimillion-dollar plant in Veracruz; Redbrick Capital on (among other matters) its negotiation and implementation of a joint venture with hotel group Grupo Presidente; and Compass Group on the negotiation of a $50m real estate trust. Senior associate Alejandra Gutiérrez is noted for corporate real estate matters (including development, leasing, financing and securitization); as is intermediate associate Luis A Leuchter for the regulatory side. Other matters include advising WeWork on regulatory real estate-related matters including data protection, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery, land use, and zoning and licensing with regard to its incipient facilities in Mexico City. Clients include Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, Bank of India and Chemours Company Mexico. The firm also has impressive regional connections and a designated Brazil desk.

Being ‘a clear example of excellence’, Sánchez Devanny’s clients ‘are looking forward to stay with this firm as long as possible’ since its lawyers ‘take responsibility’, ‘respect deadlines’, ‘have strong knowledge in their areas’ and ‘don’t makes mistakes’. The 6-strong practice handles retail leases and permitting, acquisitions, incorporations, joint ventures and real estate trust matters, but it is particularly active in retail leasing work where recent activity included closing five leases for Hennes & Mauritz flagship stores and 81 for Sally Beauty Supply. It is also particularly active in property acquisition in the industrial sector. Monterrey-based practice head Rafael Villamar-Ramos leads on all matters his other mandates included advising Lowes on the restructuring of its retail stores in Nuevo León. Key support comes from young associate Alfredo Villarreal Hansmann who is lauded by clients (‘the best real estate lawyer you will ever find’) for his expertise in the revision of lease agreements and his ‘persuasive’ negotiation. Mexico City-based partners José Antonio Postigo-Uribe and Cristina Sánchez Vebber participate on the energy and environmental, and transactional aspects of the sector respectively. Clients include Uline, Libbey, Suzuki Garpytthan, Accument Global Technologies and Metal Technologies.

Solcargo’s six-strong real estate team ‘punches above its weight’ due to a tightly integrated service offering that includes strong capabilities in sectors key to the practice, notably, environmental and administrative law, and litigation. The practice group is primarily active across the hospitality, commercial and industrial sub-sectors, and also has extensive knowledge of issues related to the maquiladora sector. Led by the ‘knowledgeable and strategic’ Luis González (who ‘has the mental flexibility to come up with novel solutions’), recent matters saw the team advise Cognizant on the expansion project for its industrial plant in Zapopan, Jalisco; and Promotora Metropolitana on the sale of two high-end apartment blocks in upscale Mexico City neighbourhood, Polanco. Gustavo Carvajal led counsel to Radial Llantas on a due diligence operation regarding its stores; the matter involved leases, zoning, permits and authorizations and also showcased the firm’s environmental capabilities, without which the client’s goal of compliance would not have been achieved. Fernando Eraña, who made partner in 2014, has recently been leading on the restructuring of a loan facility which includes a real estate mortgage as part of the collateral package. Other key team members include senior associates Juan Carlos Izaza and Lydia Solis, as well as fellow senior Rodrigo Antonio Muñoz, who arrived from Cuesta Campos y Asociados S.C.; however, Carlos Valderrama, also a senior, left the firm in May 2017. Additional matters include infrastructure project development, due diligence operations, and transactional and litigious real estate mandates.

Handling the full spectrum of real estate matters, from site analysis and sales agreements to entitlements and zoning, the five-strong team at White & Case S.C. is nevertheless most prominent in the real estate finance subsector. Recent mandates, for example, saw Juan Antonio Martin and newly-appointed local partner Carlos Mainero advise Miami-based investment fund Alsis on mezzanine financing facilities to local real estate developers JOM, Comdesi, Grupo Promotor Pordesa and Desarrolladora Elements. In other matters, practice head Raúl Fernández-Briseno – who covers all aspects of the commercial, industrial and hospitality real estate sub-sectors, as well as contractual matters, negotiation and construction issues – advised MXT Capital Partners on the first of a series of telecom-tower real estate portfolio acquisitions; and Vicente Corta and Álvaro Garza-Galván advised repeat client Fibra Shop on obtaining an MXN$3.2bn syndicated loan from a group of banks led by BBVA Bancomer. Senior associate Pedro Morales brings environmental know-how to the practice as necessary. Other clients include Scotiabank Inverlat and the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

A reflection of Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C.’s all-round corporate ability, headline work saw real estate practice head Juan Carlos Serra lead advice to Kia Motors on its $1bn (initial) investment to establish (from greenfield to construction) its first automotive manufacturing facility (in Nuevo León), the mandate involving site analysis and selection, due diligence, administrative and regulatory matters, and the negotiation and drafting of the investment agreement. Other notable work included advising First Solar Energía Mexico on all real estate aspects pertaining to the development of photovoltaic parks, including lease agreements, in accordance with the new regulatory electricity-generation framework established by energy authority CENACE. Other matters included mining concession due diligence, including all associated real estate; the acquisition of properties for industrial development; and rural property ownership matters relating to Mexico’s traditional (ejidal) agrarian regime. Associates Manuel Iglesias (corporate and antitrust); Jorge Escobedo (administrative and energy law) and the environmentally focused Ricardo Evangelista are all key members of the practice.

A firm ‘right up there when it comes to real estate workCervantes Sainz, S.C.’s service is ‘excellent over all’ with clients appreciating ‘timely and concise responses’ and the lawyers ‘follow-through and deep involvement in deals’. The seven-strong practice is led by trio of partners: Manuel Corona, Daniel Saltzberg and Luis A Cervantes; and handles financing; development and construction; the structuring of investment vehicles; and acquisitions, sales, leasing and lease backs; as well as title search, environmental and zoning regulations, and the coordination of associated tax planning. Recent matters saw Salzberg advise PGIM (formerly PREI) on the due diligence and acquisition of 250,000m² of land in the state of Guanajuato, Chihuahua and Mexico; the leasing of more than 300,000m² of industrial properties in the same states; and on the sale of non-strategic real estate assets. He also represented TERRAFINA in a joint venture with Parques American Industries for the development and acquisition of industrial properties, and on the associated financings; and Prologis on the due diligence contribution of leasable properties totalling more than one million square metres to the portfolio. Away from the ‘substantial work he does for PGIM and Prologis’ for which Saltzberg is ‘well known’, he also represented Alignmex Real Estate Capital on the purchase of 180 residential units in the state of Mexico, and the due diligence and acquisition of 206,000m² in Guanajuato. Cervantes advised Némesis Capital on negotiating the land transfers into Fibra Plus (which raised an initial amount of MXN$2.8bn), and assisted with all real estate components of the deal. Corona advised Grupo Proyecta and Riberalta on the $45m acquisition of a 50-hectare plot in Mexico City for the development of some 25,000 middle-income residential units; Riberalta on the negotiation, structuring and development of a 31-unit condominium building in Polanco, Mexico City; and Marathon Properties on the acquisition of land plots in Zihuatanejo and the negotiation of a joint venture agreement for the development of condominium units. Corona ‘understands the issues involved’ and is ‘able to structure complicated deals in a clear and efficient manner, pinpointing and focusing on real issues to get the deals done’. Other matters include advising Hannesbrands on obtaining regulatory permits for the zoning change for a facility in the state of Mexico. Key associate Ximena Hernández is also noted.

Real estate is a core practice at the ‘efficientCreel Abogados, SC. The seven-strong team acts across the residential, industrial, commercial and tourism/hospitality sectors on matters including the purchase, sale and lease of real estate assets; structuring and fund-related matters; and the development, construction and operation of real estate projects. Practice head and ‘fine lawyer’ Jorge Torres has over 30 years’ experience (he ‘knows real estate inside-out and from top to bottom’), but it is the ‘talented’ Gustavo Struck who has been particularly active this year. Recent matters saw Torres lead advice to Grupo Desarrolla on the development of high-end residential housing projects; corporate partner Alfonso Razú advised Grupo Danone’s business-unit, Bonafont, on the negotiation and termination of diverse lease agreements for both industrial facilities and production lines, as well as on matters concerning its water plants, warehouses and distribution centres throughout Mexico; and Struck counsel Grupo Institución on the development of two new business class hotels in Mexico City, and FIBRA Bien on the formation of an SPV for the implementation of a real estate investment trust involving car dealerships. Competition specialist Patricio Martinez O, who made partner in 2016, is also active in the sector. Ongoing matters include advisory to Exclusive Resorts on the sale of luxury residential units. Other clients include Edgewell, Kerzner International, Corporación Inmobiliaria Vesta, Rosewood Hotel & Resorts, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company and Westmont Hospitality Group.

New entrant DLA Piper Gallastegui y Lozano, the Mexican office of a global player that is increasingly visible in Latin America, has a small, currently four-strong practice led by dedicated practitioner Maria Gabriela Alaña. Particularly focused on the residential, office/commercial, industrial, hospitality and tourism sub-sectors, she acts across the whole project life-cycle, from land acquisition and due diligence, through development planning, permitting and licensing, to corporate matters, project financing, development and all associated contractual matters. Recent mandates saw Alaña advise major commercial-centres developer (and key client) Grupo Sordo Madaleno on the amendment of a MXN$1.5bn master agreement for the acquisition of a 17,500m² property from General Motors. Other matters include the representation of various clients with regard to built-to-suit agreements, sales (notably, of shopping centres), and strategic divestments in the hospitality sector. Name partner Jorge B Gallástegui and María Eugenia Ríos also participate in the sector as required. Clients include Banamex, Buenavista Hospitality Group, Fairmont Hotels, Finova Financial Corporation, Four Seasons, Marriott International, Mayakoba Thai, PREI and Sunterra Corporation.

Luis Uriel Pérez leads a nine-strong practice group at Goodrich, Riquelme y Asociados, where key support comes from experienced senor associates José Luis Vega and Astrid Galaviz; both have over 10 years’ experience in the sector, and focus on the hospitality and tourism, and contracts, leasing and the commercial segment of the practice, respectively. Recent matters saw the team advise Walmart on over 50 different matters including contracts, long-term leases and traditional community land holding (‘ejido’) matters; and French automotive company Sarrel on the establishment of an industrial plant in Celaya, including real estate and environmental due diligence on a 51,000m² property. Additional matters include the regularization of licenses and authorisations on behalf of The Cabaña; and advising Novus Nutrition on an industrial facility to be located in El Bajío.

The seven-strong team at Kuri Breña, Sánchez Ugarte y Aznar is led by ‘’very professional, sensitive and savvy’ co-heads Luis Octavio Núñez and Guillermo Garay Espinosa. Recent matters saw key partner Núñez advise Vinte Viviendas Integrales on obtaining a $15m real estate mortgage-backed loan from IIC; Salles Sainz Grant Thornton on the acquisition and financing of a real estate acquisition for its headquarters; Grupo GICSA on a transfer of assets and beneficiary rights over real estate projects to Mexican REIT Fibra Hotel; and Planigrupo on the acquisition of a large real estate property for the development of a shopping centre in Guanajuato. Other matters saw Daniel Kuri Breña advise Grupo Martí on several long-term leases. Having returned from his position as vice president / head of legal at Itaú Unibanco in 2016, Rodrigo López Márquez is active in the sector; and intermediate associate Rosa María Cuevas is also noted.

The ‘very good firmRomo Paillés, S.C. offer ‘great service’, a ‘reasonable cost/benefit ratio’ and ‘solid technical and legal knowledge’. Real estate lead María Teresa Paillés has over 25 years’ experience and is ‘a great lawyer – technical, dedicated and very sharp in terms of revision and her recommendations’. Recent matters include advising Grupo KesDes and its joint venture partner, US equity-fund TC Latin America Partners on the negotiation and implementation of a $26m real estate project. Other work saw Maria Esther Rey advise developer Archetonic on 226 high-end residential project in Puebla. The team also provides Walmart with on-going services for the acquisition and/or lease of real estate properties across Mexico. Name partner Rafael Romo is also active in the sector, and associates Fabiola Peña and Alfonso Serna are ‘excellent on real estate’ matters. Clients include Grupo Posadas and Cargill.

The seven-strong real estate team at SMPS Legal is co-directed by general corporate practitioner Eduardo Pizarro Suárez, who has particular experience in real estate transactions and financings; and Alejandro Ortiz, who has over 20 years’ experience and divides his time between the firm’s Mexico City and Dallas offices. The team undertakes matters throughout the entire sector, with past mandates including the origination of a structure to develop and finance a significant multi-use building (and an associated private trust); acting as local counsel to a hotel group on the development and operation of its Mexican activities; and strategic advice on the construction, development and operation of industrial facilities. Counsel Moises Shehoah brings his experience as general counsel at developer Grupo Danhos to the team, while associate Diana Sologuren has over a decade’s experience in the sector. Numerous other matters include project development and associated administrative requirements; telecom antennae-related real estate matters; the implementation of a corporate, real estate and tax structure on behalf of a real estate developer; advice in relation to mixed-use developments; the leasing and construction of corporate headquarters, and pipeline rights-of-way agreements.

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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.
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    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.
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    By Jose Luis Ramos-Zurita

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