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  1. Commercial property: Cardiff
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Who Represents Who

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Headed by James Trafford, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's nine-partner team provides a 'top-quality service' to a varied mix of investors, developers and end users. Praised for its 'excellent industry knowledge', Trafford and the 'superb' Geraint Pullin Thomas spearhead a dedicated real estate clean energy practice which is active in projects in Wales and England. Thomas recently provided the real estate input for Belltown Power on the financing of the 25MW windfarm in Powys. Kevin Booth leads on the office's developer mandates and recently advised Taylor Wimpey on the acquisition of the balance of Jubilee Park (the development in Rogerstone Newport) and the simultaneous disposal of parts to Bellway and BDW. A partner within the investor sub-group of the real estate practice, David Emberson handles a raft of work for leading property investment and development company, SEGRO plc, including advising it on a major property swap transaction with Legal & General. Other recommended practitioners at partner level include Helen Thomas and Andrew Burns, who both have a strong focus on real estate work within the transport/infrastructure sector; Nefydd Jones, who provides 'excellent work' for corporate occupiers including GlaxoSmithKline; and Kathryn Roberts, who leads the firm’s Volume Services team which provides high-volume conveyancing services for many of the UK’s major financial institutions. Senior associate Jonathan Woodward is also recommended. Other clients include Transport for London, Annington, Persimmon Homes and EDF Energy.

Led by the 'excellent' Jonathan Geen and Steve Morris, Acuity Legal Limited 's 'responsive and cost-effective' five-partner team provides a 'partner-led service' on many of the highest-profile real estate mandates in the local market. The firm's deeply entrenched ties with leading developer Rightacres ensures that it continues to pick up a significant flow of work in relation to the various developments in the Central Square area of Cardiff. The 'first-class' Gareth Baker 'has his finger on the pulse of each deal' and continues to be the lead lawyer on the Central Square regeneration scheme - work which has included not only assembly of the entire site for Rightacres but also advice in relation to the lettings, financing and sales of the various Central Square developments including the £400m finance deal with Legal & General, the letting and sale of 1 and 2 Central Square and the GPU building. Baker also  advised leading global semiconductor company, IQE, on the historic deal to develop the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in south Wales. Outside of Wales, 'personable and approachable' affordable housing expert Damien Cann continues to handle a raft of work for the Mears Group including on on innovative leaseback arrangement with Luton Borough Council to provide affordable housing in Eaton Green, Luton. Although it is best-known for its private sector work, the firm's appointment to the National Procurement Service's (NPS) property panel has begun to generate some sizeable public sector mandates as demonstrated by the firm's work for University of Wales Trinity Saint David on the SA1 development in Swansea. Other clients include Associated British Ports, Sony Europe, LifeCare Residencies and Principality Building Society.

Headed by Geoff Reed, Blake Morgan LLP's 'friendly and approachable' five-partner team provides an 'excellent service' to private and public sector clients including HSBC, the Welsh government, Melin Homes and Barola Property Holdings. On the private sector front, the firm's recent work for Rightacres on its joint venture¬†with S.A.Brain and Network Rail on the Central Quay development was a major mandate for the firm and is reflective of its credibility in the market.¬†James Egan¬†has a 'broad understanding of property and tenancy matters in the public sector' and recently advised Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Local Health Board on¬†the procurement of the development, by a private sector developer, of a new primary care facility in Mayhill, Swansea. Nigel Griffiths¬†has a focus on retail leasing matters and continues to handle a raft of work for Canary Wharf Group plc. The 'outstanding' Louise Howells¬†provides 'skilful and knowledgeable' advice within the social housing sector and handles real estate work for a slew of housing associations¬† including Coastal Housing Group and Rhondda Housing Association. Senior associate Daniela Smith¬†is also recommended as a result of her broad-ranging workload which includes development transactions, investment acquisitions and disposals, and retail leasing work. Philip Jardine¬†is also recommended.¬†¬†¬† ¬†  

The 'excellent' team at Capital Law LLP provides 'clear and prompt advice' to a varied mix of stakeholders including large corporates, SMEs, developers, lenders, landlords and tenants. Team head Leanne O'Brien is well-known for her real estate work within the education sector; she represents the University of South Wales on disposal matters associated with its Caerleon Campus. The 'authoritative' Justin Mason is a 'safe pair of hands' and continues to lead a multi-disciplinary team, including banking, procurement and construction practitioners, on behalf of Porthcawl Harbourside CIC on a £7m regeneration project at Porthcawl Harbour. Mason has also been instrumental in growing the firm's presence in work emanating outside of Wales, and recently advised London-based law firm Sharpe Pritchard LLP on its move to a newly refurbished office space in Clerkenwell, London. Active across a range of commercial property matters, Jon Ely also has a niche assisting clients in the registered provider sector on their varied commercial property portfolios. Banking partner Christopher Agius is regularly engaged in real estate finance work.

Led by Susanne Bradley, the 'knowledgeable' team at Geldards LLP  provides 'highly commercial advice' to a range of stakeholders on many significant local projects, where the firm is able to provide a holistic service (often including planning expertise) which stands out for its 'local knowledge and local contacts'. The team has recently handled some high-profile politically sensitive public sector mandates including representing the Welsh government on the new Aston Martin DBX crossover vehicle plant and on the viability of the proposed £315m Circuit of Wales race track in Ebbw Vale. Ioan Owen is 'very knowledgeable in property law', particularly as it pertains to the retail sector; he is advising Edinburgh Woollen Group on the management of its real estate portfolio. The 'commercially savvy' Rowland Davies is 'very focused on the big-picture business goals, while also mastering the minute details', and excels at handling long -term development projects. The 'very knowledgeable and experienced' Mike Jeffs has a 'great knowledge of the property market in south Wales' and is a key member of the team that also includes the 'responsive and pragmatic' Liz Ganderton,who provides advice across a broad range of property matters including property development and landlord and tenant matters. Adam Thomas is also recommended. Other clients include Admiral Insurance, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Julian Hodge Bank and Peacock Stores.

Led by Peter Hurn, Hugh James continues to be a prominent presence in the local real estate market, both on the private and public sector front. Hurn is particularly well regarded within the residential development space and continues to represent Bellway Homes on its acquisitions throughout south Wales and the south west of England. Daniel Morgan has a focus on advising leisure, betting and gaming industry clients on property issues and continues to represent S.A.Brain on all aspects of the joint venture with Rightacres for the redevelopment scheme of their Cardiff Brewery site in the city centre. Caroline O'Flaherty has developed a particular niche advising education sector clients on their property requirements, including Cardiff University which she has acted for on its estate portfolio since 2000 and is currently advising on the development of the new Centre for Student Life in the conservation area of Park Place, Cardiff. The firm's position on the NPS' real estate panel has also provided a fertile source of public sector instructions and has underscored its already strong presence in the sector for clients including Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales. The recent arrival of Richard Macphail from -Blake Morgan LLP further enhances the firm's capabilities on the public sector front and strengthens a team that also includes highly regarded senior associates Shelley Ikram and Gareth Fortey.

Led on the secured lending front by Martin Pursall, and for development work by Chris Jones, the 'expeditious and proactive' team at Berry Smith has a 'thorough understanding of the market as a whole' and provides an 'excellent service' to clients including Portabella, HSBC, Principality Commercial and JBCH Developments. Praised for his 'pragmatic and commercial outlook to problems' and ability to 'present a solution not just a list of risks', Jones handles a considerable amount of work for Vastint Hospitality including on the acquisition of various development sites throughout England (including at Heathrow and the Birmingham NEC ) along with supplemental work arising from the development of current sites. On the NPS panel for property work across south Wales, led by Pursall, the team advised Carmarthenshire County Council on the acquisition of a plot of land in Carmarthen from private individuals to form part of the council’s residential housing development plan. Senior associate Sian Reynolds is also recommended. Highly regarded commercial property practitioner and former senior partner Roger Berry stepped down to a consultancy role.

Headed by the 'excellent' Donald Gray, the 'very thorough and professional' four-strong team at Darwin Gray LLP provides 'strong business acumen and impressive industry knowledge', particularly in relation to development work. Gray recently advised DS Holdings (Penarth) on the acquisition of a church in Barry for a mixed use development (including eight offices and 22 apartments). Praised for his 'responsiveness and exceptional levels of communication', senior associate Gareth Wedge  provides an 'outstanding level of service', particularly on deals with business and asset transactions involving property sales and lettings, where he is also able to leverage his corporate law experience. Other clients include Dawan Developments, 101 Asset Management, Mill Bay Homes and ABA Holdings.

'First-class' property boutique, Le Gros Solicitors Limited provides a 'commercial and responsive service' across a wide array of commercial and residential property transactions. Recent highlights include acting for Village Homes and Acorn Property Group on the acquisition of a 17-acre site in Cardiff for the development of 120 housing units and associated infrastructure. 'Excellent' managing partner Claudia Le Gros  leads a strong team that is appreciated for its 'strength-in-depth' and includes Julia Morris , who is 'extremely able on Agreement for Lease for Development, coupled with the leases and the negotiations with the landlords', and Nicola Beynon , who is particularly strong on all landlord and tenant matters and development work. Clients include Grey Technology, Seasons Holidays and Portabella.

Although it remains best known for its residential conveyancing expertise, led by Rhidian Hobbs, Howells Solicitors also has significant capability across a range of commercial property work, including advice on landlord and tenant matters, development issues and business transfers.

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Legal Developments in Wales for Commercial property: Cardiff

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

    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.‚Ä©
    - Falcon Chambers

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