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Bell Gully is ‘highly responsive and provides excellent service with in-depth knowledge and excellent commercial understanding’. Clients have ‘total confidence in the team’s advice’. In Auckland, the ‘highly respectedAndrew Petersen is ‘commercially astute with the ability to translate knowledge into solutions. Also recommended are ‘excellent team leaderJane Holland; construction, infrastructure and local government specialist Tom Bennett; Karl Anderson for his ‘excellent attention to detail’; and, in Wellington, Hugh Kettle and commercial property partner David Chisnall, who ‘get to the point quickly and have excellent experience’. Chisnall advised Precinct Properties on developments under its NZ$500m government contract, including the largest-ever office development project in New Zealand, which secures 68,000 sqm of office space across five buildings. Another highlight saw Holland act for Stride Property Limited in its NZ$545m acquisition of the Westfield Queensgate shopping centre in Lower Hutt and the Westfield Chartwell shopping centre in Hamilton.

Chapman Tripp has a long track record of advising on the largest and most complex real estate projects in the country, including development projects for clients such as Panuku Development Auckland, Fu Wah New Zealand, Augusta Capital and Todd Property Group. Real estate specialist Mark Nicholson and construction expert Brian Clayton lead the team from Auckland. Litigator John McKay also plays a key role in the practice and ‘gives clients a real advantage in tackling legal challenges’. Matthew Carroll advised Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board on its agreement to acquire a 50% share in a NZ$1.1bn portfolio of commercial and retail assets in New Zealand from Public Sector Pension Investment Board. Bill Sandston acted for Todd Property in an agreement with Panuku and Auckland City Council to develop a mixed-use town centre site along Ormiston Road in Flatbush. Greg Wise is now a partner.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is known for ‘excellent service and good advice’. Auckland-based head of real estate David Gilbert ‘has strong knowledge, a willingness to assist and builds strong client relationships’. Litigator and head of construction Stephen Price successfully defended Bostik New Zealand in a claim brought by unit owners of the Victopia Apartments, who alleged building defects relating to cladding, balconies, podia and fire protection systems. He also acted for the Wellington Gateway Partnership in the Transmission Gully roading project. Clients appreciate the ‘excellent advice on contracts’ from construction partner Sarah Sinclair, who is advising the Crown on Auckland’s City Rail Link project. Also recommended are Ross Pickmere, who is one of the country’s leading commercial property and forestry lawyers, Andrew Monteith, and head of the Wellington team Patricia Green. ‘Experienced and knowledgeable’ special counsel Thomas Kelly joined from DLA Piper New Zealand.

At Russell McVeagh in Auckland, ‘the overall level of service is outstanding and the level of expertise is exceptionally high’. Property group chair Ed Crook is ‘simply outstanding, very commercial and practical, he is able to distil complex legal issues and find objective solutions’. Prominent partner Alan Paterson joined Anderson Lloyd, but the firm retains an experienced team that includes standout partner David Butler. Crook advised Goodman Property Trust on its agreement for the NZ$210m sale of the Millennium Centre office estate in Auckland, the biggest single office sale in the country’s history. He also advised Goodman on the development and subsequent sale of the five-storey Bayleys Building. Butler recently acted for Top View Property Development on an agreement to acquire a large freehold site for the development of 500 residential units. Kiwi Property Group, Precinct Properties and Woolworths are also clients of the firm.

Simpson Grierson is one the leading firms for real estate and construction matters and has a role in key infrastructure projects, such as the NZ$3.5bn City Rail Link in Auckland. Commercial property partner Michael Wood and construction partner Michael Weatherall, both based in Auckland, are advising Auckland Transport on that matter, which is among the largest construction projects in the country. Graeme Christie, who jointly leads the construction practice with Weatherall, and newly promoted construction litigator Jo-Anne Knight are advising 48 local authorities in proceedings brought by the Ministry of Education arising from the defective construction of school buildings. Real estate partners Greg Towers and Greg Allen, who are advising Precision Group on the NZ$90m acquisition of the Shore City Shopping Centre, are also recommended. Michael Scannell in Wellington jointly heads the real estate practice with Wood.

Anthony Harper provides ‘superb service, high-quality advice and good value for money’. In Auckland, head of construction Edward Dunphygives great technical and practical advice’. He acted for Fletcher Construction and Acciona Infrastructure on a joint venture to develop the NZ$709m Puhoi to Warkworth PPP road project, and Fletcher Distribution on the renewal of its lease for premises in Kaiwharawhara, Wellington. Senior associate Tim Bunker ‘always provides excellent legal and practical advice’. Tim Barclay in Christchurch leads the property practice and his recent highlights include advising Goodman Property Trust on the sale of local assets with a total value of NZ$61m, including Southpark Industrial Estate and 15 Show Place. Daniel French, who advised HREF Health Precinct Limited on the development of a new seven-storey building in Christchurch, and Murray Weakley are also recommended.

Buddle Findlay is ‘responsive and provides good value for money’. The property and construction team is led by three partners: projects specialist Dominic Lundon and commercial property and finance partner Daniel Kelleher in Auckland and construction partner Charlotte Von Dadelszen in Wellington. Kelleher recently advised SCA Property on the sale of its entire New Zealand shopping centre portfolio for NZ$274m, which involved a complex two-part structure to optimise the vendor’s Australian tax position. He also acted for Auckland Council and Panuku Development Auckland in the CAB project, which involves a NZ$250m development in the city’s entertainment precinct. Lundon’s highlights included advising Goodman Group on the NZ$40m sale of the Connect Business Estate office development. Von Dadelszen acted for Government Property Group in a NZ$100m deal for a new primary head office for the Ministry for Primary Industries in Wellington.

DLA Piper New Zealand provides ‘excellent service, mainly because of the knowledge and experience of the team’, says one client. Another remarks that the team is ‘A-plus, with top-class industry knowledge, I cannot recommend it highly enough’. In Auckland, the ‘very experiencedJustin March leads the real estate team and Mark Williamson, who is ‘very easy to deal with and provides practical and effective advice’, leads on construction. March advises grocery distribution giant Foodstuffs North Island, which is franchisor of 360 grocery outlets, on all of its property matters, including the acquisition of new sites and the development of strategic real estate. With finance partner Terence Ng, he also acted for Changda International New Zealand on the development of a 42-hectare site in Orewa to create 570 residential units. Williamson advised China Construction New Zealand on a joint venture to build the NZ$200m Park Hyatt Hotel. In Wellington, Daniel Arapere and consultant Brian Bray are also recommended.

Hesketh Henry in Auckland is ‘a very good firm with experts who are both service- and solution-oriented’. It has a prominent construction practice and a real estate team that acts for both local and international investors, developers and landowners. Construction expert Christina Bryant provides ‘great practical advice tailored to clients’ businesses’. She advised subcontractor Complete Siteworks on a high-profile dispute with contractor Watts & Hughes arising from the reconstruction of a car park after the Canterbury earthquakes. ‘Sharp, commercial and strategic’ special counsel Helen Macfarlane is ‘an exceptionally smart litigator, who can apply her knowledge to a variety of challenging matters’. She advised Davis Langdon New Zealand on proceedings initiated by apartment owners in the St Luke’s Gardens complex, who alleged structural defects with the buildings. Real estate heads Brian Coburn and Robert Berrybalance intellectual acumen with commercial and strategic pragmatism’.

At Kensington Swan, the real estate team comprises the vastly experienced John Meads and Ish Fraser in Wellington and Auckland-based Matthew Ockleston, who is best known for advising on the Public Works Act and infrastructure projects. Meads advised the Government Property Group on the Wellington Accommodation Project, which included issues arising from the Kaikoura earthquake that left many government departments without accommodation for staff during the refurbishment of key buildings. Ockleston acted for New Zealand Transport Agency in property acquisitions for the project to improve State Highway 1. The construction team in Auckland consists of infrastructure projects specialist Paul Buetow, industry veterans Chris Booth and Stuart Robertson and newly hired Brendan Cash from Bell Gully. Buetow’s key matters included advising Hawaiki Submarine Cable New Zealand on construction contracts for onshore landing stations for an undersea internet cabling project.

Thompson Blackie Biddles is a specialist commercial property firm in Auckland that handles high-value and complex transactions for listed property trusts, multinational organisations, NZX-listed companies, property funds, corporate receivers, residential and commercial developers, construction companies and high-net-worth individuals. The firm has a highly experienced team of four directors. Industry veteran Greg Thompson assisted Precinct Properties with the negotiation of lease agreements with the tenants of Commercial Bay Tower, which is a new development on Auckland’s waterfront. Transaction and development specialist James Blackie acted for Pro Invest Group in the NZ$100m development of a 160-room hotel in Queenstown. Highlights for construction expert Joe Biddles included advising Lamont & Co on the redevelopment of the recently acquired SKHY office tower, which included the acquisition, unit titling, redevelopment and sell-down of residential apartments. Sam Greenwood acted for Oyster Property Management in the NZ$210m purchase of office towers from Goodman Property Trust.

Specialist real estate and construction firm AlexanderDorrington Ltd is regarded as one of the leading residential development firms in Auckland. Its standout practitioners are Debra Dorrington and Denise Marsden, who act for local and international clients including private companies, corporate landowners, developers, investors and community housing providers. Jourdan Griffin is also recommended. Recent highlights for the practice include advising a limited liability company on the development of a NZ$150m luxury apartment complex in an iconic building in Auckland, and advising a buyer on the NZ$44m acquisition of two buildings comprising multiple residential apartments operating as a hotel and commercial space, including food court. For a charitable trust, the firm negotiated funding contracts with the Ministry of Social Development for projects with a total value of NZ$20m.

At Anderson Lloyd, ‘the overall level of service and knowledge is excellent’. ‘I consider choosing the firm to be one of the best decisions I have made’, said one client. Team head Kerry O’Donnell in Queenstown advised Shotover Country Limited on a NZ$200m sale of residential sites. Infrastructure and construction partner David Holden in Auckland is ‘very technical, responsive and commercial’. Mike Kerr in Christchurch ‘has a fantastic client relationship focus, and his knowledge and expertise are exceptional’. He advised Ngāi Tahu Property on a NZ$113m joint venture development. Prominent commercial property partner Alan Paterson joined from Russell McVeagh.

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Legal Developments in New Zealand

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