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  1. Commercial property: Liverpool
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DLA Piper UK LLP has an extensive track record in high-profile investment matters, as well as complex, large-scale developments. The ‘approachable’ team attracts praise for its ability to provide ‘in-depth and practical advice at short notice’. Highlights included advising Cheshire West & Chester Council on the signing of anchor tenant House of Fraser to Chester's £300m Northgate regeneration scheme; and assisting the same client with the acquisition of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chester and the construction of a replacement 4-star hotel. The team also advised Liverpool Football Club & Athletic Grounds on the land acquisition, joint venture arrangements, and construction of an additional 8,500 seats to Anfield Stadium. The team also acts for housebuilders including Elan Homes, which it advised on the £7.6m acquisition of Saighton Camp. TIAA Henderson Real Estate, Heineken, PACE Trustees and Picton Capital are also on the team’s client roster. North West department head Mark Beardwood, who splits his time between the firm’s Liverpool and Manchester offices, has ‘a good commercial brain’. He is assisted by the ‘extremely commercialPhilip Rooney, who ‘resolves complex issues quickly’, and advises investors, public authorities and major space occupiers; Alison Mills, who is ‘fast, accurate and commercial’ and regularly handles development work in the student accommodation sector; and recently promoted partner Richard Thompson, who focuses on investment work. Legal director Richard Ascroft and senior associate Hannah Cheminais, who recently joined from Pinsent Masons LLP, are also recommended.

The ‘fantastic’ team at Brabners LLP handles a range of real estate mandates spanning agriculture and landed estates, commercial and residential developments, investment, retail and property management, as well as real estate finance. The team has ‘good technical knowledge’, delivers ‘quick response times’, has ‘a pragmatic approach’, and is able to ‘cut through the white noise and get to the issue’. Highlights included advising Neptune Developments on the £39m forward funding of a mixed-use scheme in Liverpool; and acting for McColls Retail on the acquisition of 298 stores from the Co-operative Group. T J Morris, ABF, Wainhomes (North West), Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Grosvenor Estate and Peacocks Stores are also clients. David Morgan heads the firm’s regional real estate department; Jeff Gillbankskeeps focus on what is needed to close big deals’ and advises landlord developers, on forward funded acquisitions, and complex high value developments, which includes Iain Gamble, who primarily acts for developers and landlords on commercial and mixed-use schemes; Richard Roberts (‘an exceptional lawyer; he cuts to the core issues very quickly’), who handles retail and property management mandates; Chris Parkinson, who heads the residential development team; and senior associate Kevin Manley. Neil McBurney and Sandy Gill are also receommended. Leanne Murray joined DAC Beachcroft LLP in 2016.

DWF’s expertise spans investment, development, finance, and asset management inthe retail, hotel, leisure, office, industrial and residential sectors. Highlights included advising NewRiver Retail on the £120m purchase of Bexleyheath Shopping Centre; acting for NewRiver Leisure on the comprehensive redevelopment of Basingstoke Leisure Park; and assisting Criterion Capital woith the £130m sale of Queensmere Shopping Centre in Slough. The team also acted for Lloyds Bank on the provision of development finance to Redsun Developments, for the construction of Canada Dock Exchange, Liverpool and Power Station Business Park, Bromborough. Team head Andrew Nichol is experienced in property finance and investment acquisition work. He is recommended alongside the ‘very able’ Abby Dry, who handles a range of asset management mandates and advises on acquisitions and disposals; Julie Simms, who handles a range of property development matters; real estate finance expert Luke Hopkins; and senior associates Neil Lacey and Helen Thomas.

Hill Dickinson LLP has a ‘fantastic reputation’ among its investor and developer clients, for whom it handles a range of real estate projects in the retail and leisure sectors, as well the utilities, energy, transport, logistics and public sectors. It also advises on real estate finance. Highlights included advising a trustee client of Mason Partners on the sale of Ashmount Enterprise Park, Flint; acting for Utopia Leisure on the property aspects of a business transfer agreement relating to Barnett Hill Hotel and Conference Centre, Guildford; advising Signature Living on a mixed-use development in Cardiff; and acting for Elliot Group on a property acquisition and development in Manchester. David Swaffield has a ‘brilliant reputation’ and heads the national property and construction team, which includes Martyn McDonald, who acts for property owners and investors on high-value acquisitions and disposals; Claire Cosgrove, who is active in the retail sector; Graham Archibald, who advises on a range of property transactions; and Alex McCann, who acts for investors, developers and occupiers. Pamela Jones retired in 2016.

Weightmans LLP is adept at handling complex city centre and town centre regeneration projects for a range of public sector clients. The team also has expertise in residential developments, and handles landlord and tenant matters as well as retail sector mandates. Highlights included advising South Ribble District Council on the disposal of a semi-derelict testing track, which involved a joint venture agreement and a land sale agreement; acting for Denbighshire County Council on the wholesale regeneration of Rhyl Waterfront with development partner Neptune; and assisting BDW Trading on the acquisition of land for development from Wirral Borough Council. The Manchester-based Karl Jackson heads the ‘hardworking’ and ‘experienced’ team, which features a number of key figures, including Janice Weatherly, who is active across development mandates and landlord and tenant matters, and is particularly experienced in the education sector; Clive Bleasdale, who has vast expertise in city centre regeneration projects and heads the local government real estate group; Matthew Williamson, who advises on landlord and tenant matters, as well as property acquisitions and disposals; and David Tabinor, who is experienced in volume real estate matters. Also recommended are recently promoted partner Christopher Grady, who specialises in residential development matters; and associates Thomas Starkey, Frank La Rocca (who heads the national plot sales team), Tony Parry, and Sue McGorian.

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Legal Developments in North West for Commercial property: Liverpool

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 


    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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