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  1. Commercial property: Manchester
  2. Leading individuals

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Peter Kershaw leads the β€˜hardworking and commercial’ team at Addleshaw Goddard LLP, which is noted for its β€˜excellent negotiation skills’. Highlights included advising Bruntwood on its acquisition of the former Oxford Road BBC site, acting for Omega Warrington on a Β£1bn mixed-use development, and assisting Peel Land with a new 15-year development agreement with Bupa to lease a property at MediaCityUK. Stephen Kinsey attracts praise for his β€˜deep base of knowledge’, and Catherine Fearnhead is β€˜first class at ensuring documentation is turned around quickly. Colette Withey and Vicky Niescier are also recommended.

The β€˜outstanding’ Mike Edge leads the team at Pinsent Masons LLP, which delivers β€˜sound legal advice’. It advised St Modwen Developments on the sale of new facilities in Liverpool and Stoke to GM Investment Trustees and on the acquisition of Kirkby Shopping Centre and surrounding land. It also acted for Ardstone Regional Office Fund on the acquisition of Pall Mall Court, Manchester. Rachel Pitman is β€˜speedy with her responses, commercially minded, and can explain all the complexities in simplistic terms’. Senior associates Dan Hargreaves and Phillip Birchall are also recommended. Helen Robinson joined from Eversheds LLP and Ann Draper joined from Hempsons. Jim Purves left to join Hill Dickinson LLP in May 2015.

Paul Inman leads the β€˜strong’ team at DWF, which advised Lancashire County Council on the Β£36.4m acquisition of an office and leisure building; acted for Whitbread on the expansion of its Premier Inn Hotels portfolio; and advised United Utilities on the sale of a Manchester city centre office block. Recommended individuals include the β€˜excellent’ Anita Gupta, Catherine Haslam, who has β€˜a great eye for detail’, the β€˜astute’ Naveen Gupta, Paul Gidman and David Frankland. Mark Barker joined Squire Patton Boggs in February 2016.

Eversheds LLP’s practice is noted for its β€˜excellent technical skill’. Highlights included advising Muse Developments on its development of Phase 2 of the Stockport Exchange project, and assisting The Carlyle Group with the development of the Soapworks mixed-use development at MediaCityUK. Key figures include β€˜very experienced’ department head Nancy Brown, the β€˜excellent’ Michael Buchanan, and Phillip Tunney, who β€˜combines excellent technical skill with old-fashioned hard work and a keen eye for what is important to the client’. Stephen Sorrell left the firm in December 2015 to join Lucent Group as group managing director, while Ian Barker joined from Berg and principal associate Ian Walsh joined from Ward Hadaway.

Irwin Mitchell’s β€˜incredibly strong and commercial practice places client care at the centre of everything it does’. It advised BlackRock Workspace Property Trust on its Β£32m disposal of a portfolio of four light industrial properties to Westbrook Partners and advised 3 Sovereign Square on the granting of a pre-let at 3 Sovereign Square, Leeds. Team head Anita Weightman is a β€˜stalwart of the North West legal community’ and Roy Beckett is β€˜always on top of his brief’. Tony Weightman, Claire Quinn and Patrick Duffy are also recommended. Associate Emma Tonge is β€˜great with clients’.

Nabarro LLP provides β€˜an extremely high level of service’ to a client base that includes Manchester Airport Group, Hermes Real Estate Investment Management and Manchester City Council. Team head Mark Haywood, the β€˜very commercial’ Nathan Jansen, Monica Brij, Peter Winnard and Howard Gill are recommended. Chris Hallam joined from Pinsent Masons LLP in 2016.

Vaqas Farooq (who attracts praise for his β€˜great drive and market awareness’) leads the β€˜proactive and pragmatic’ team at Shoosmiths LLP, which has β€˜great strength in depth’. It is advising Allied London on the St John’s quarter regeneration scheme, and on the purchase of London Road Fire Station. It is also advising Vita Ventures on a number of acquisitions in Newcastle, York and Brighton. Andrew Pattinson is β€˜personable and responsive’ and Penny Cranston is β€˜highly regarded’. The firm was bolstered by the arrival of Barbara Rollin from Gordons LLP, Daniel Hargreaves from Pinsent Masons LLP, Russell Davidson from Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, and Richard Outhwaite from DWF.

Brabners LLP advised Bury MBC on the acquisition of development land and a newly developed multi-storey car park, and assisted Promenade Estates with the sale of the Baltic Village, Liverpool. JW Lees is also a client. Team head Chris Parkinson and Matthew O’Brien are recommended.

DAC Beachcroft LLP is active in the asset management and residential sector arenas, and recently advised BDW Trading on securing a 10-acre site in Glossop, Derbyshire by way of a conditional option agreement, subject to the grant of planning consent. The firm also advised Taylor Wimpey on the acquisition of a mixed-use site in Lancashire. Alison Key leads the department, which includes Nick Beko, who was promoted to partner in May 2015, and Adrian Wallbank. Robert Moss retired in 2015.

Dean Copley and Darren Hughes head the team at Gateley Plc, which attracts praise for β€˜getting under the skin of complex matters’. It advised London & Manchester Healthcare on the development of a number of care homes, and acted for Liveman Properties on the development of The Dock Office in Salford Quays. Gareth Atkinson is also recommended.

Michael Blakey’s team at Hill Dickinson LLP advised The Wrather Group on the Β£16.3m disposal of four Victorian office buildings overlooking Manchester’s Albert Square to LJ Group, and advised Genus on the relocation of its head office to Matrix House in Basingstoke. Jonathan Dover is β€˜very experienced’ and Chris Johnston is recommended for real estate finance. Alastair Reid relocated to Manchester from the firm’s Sheffield office, and Jim Purves joined from Pinsent Masons LLP.

JMW Solicitors LLP’s β€˜excellent’ department advised Brookhouse Group on several matters including the demolition of Meteor Retail Park in Christchurch, and the redevelopment of the site. Dransfield Properties, Richer Sounds, and Castlemead Group are also clients. Recommended individuals include β€˜fantastic’ team head Jim Banfi, Ian Gordon, Thomas Pearson, consultant Stephen Goodman and Tom Cressey.

The β€˜commercial team’ at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP advised Meadows Estate on the Β£70m acquisition of Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre in Wrexham. Persimmon Lancashire and Persimmon North West are also clients. Team head Nick Nyunt is β€˜very experienced’. Managing partner Steve Eccleston, David Haffner, Stephen Lopeman and head of the property management team Martin Davies are also recommended.

Slater and Gordon fields β€˜a strong team’ with an β€˜excellent depth of knowledge of the property industry’. Highlights included advising Zecol Thomas and Mission Mars on the completion of a new lease following the refurbishment of the Albert Hall in Manchester, and advising J & G Marshall on the conversion of various schools into academies. National head of real estate Stephen Lintott has β€˜excellent communication and negotiation skills’. β€˜First-class lawyers’ Stephen Chalcraft and Stephen Crook are also recommended.

The β€˜first-rate’ team at TLT has recently grown with a number of arrivals at legal director and associate level. It advised Well Pharmacy on its relocation and the development of new office premises at Merchants Warehouse, Manchester. Dan Sweeney heads the retail and leisure team, and Andy Bell is recommended for real estate finance matters.

Weightmans LLP’s β€˜well-respected’ department advised Staples Group subsidiary Corporate Express on the acquisition and development of a central distribution warehouse. National head Karl Jackson is noted alongside the β€˜responsive and technically excellent’ John Hyde, Varun Maharaj and Andrea Steventon. Robert Harris recently left the firm.

The β€˜superb’ Liam Buckley heads the team at Clyde & Co LLP after he and Stelios Coutsavlis joined from Squire Patton Boggs in 2015. Clients include Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and Property Alliance Group.

The β€˜brilliant’ Mark Beardwood splits his time between Manchester and Liverpool and heads the team at DLA Piper UK LLP, which includes Robert Arnison. Recently promoted partner Tom Kelsall led Greater Manchester Pension Fund on the disposal of four retail investment assets.

The β€˜very professional’ team at Davitt Jones Bould advised Gloucestershire Gateway on the development of a new motorway services area. Tony Fitzmaurice is singled out for his β€˜high level of expertise’.

Mills & Reeve LLP’s β€˜commercial and responsive’ team is co-led by Caroline Hanratty and Anne Fairhurst. The Manchester College, London Dockside, Marick Capital and Manchester Metropolitan University are clients.

Nexus Solicitors Limited advises a range of clients in the retail and food sectors. Team head Des O’Driscoll delivers β€˜accurate and knowledgeable’ advice.

Will Henson and managing partner Anne Irwin are the key figures at Slater Heelis LLP, which advised Brammer UK on a lease regarding distribution premises in Coventry. Hannah Al-Shaghana was promoted to partner in April 2016.

The β€˜focused’ team at Squire Patton Boggs advised NPL Estates on the sale of land to Sainsbury’s Supermarkets, and advised River Street Capital on the disposal of various office buildings. Team head Mark Gaffney has β€˜good attention to detail’ and β€˜gets things done quickly and efficiently’. Jonathan Brooke is also noted. Mark Barker joined from DWF in 2016.

Paul Bibby heads the β€˜commercially aware’ team at Turner Parkinson LLP, which advised A Pearson Holdings on the property aspects of its Β£40m acquisition of Wight Salads. Jonathan Kay and associate Quentin Duckworth joined from Darbys Solicitors LLP in March 2016.

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Legal Developments in North West for Commercial property: Manchester

  • 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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