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  1. Commercial property: Birmingham
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Eversheds LLP’s substantial practice has ‘excellent experience of current markets, which minimises deal times’. The team continued to see involvement in all of the major Birmingham projects, with national head of real estate Gurjit Atwal and ‘excellent Birmingham team leaderDavid Jones advising Paradise Circus LP on the first phase of the office development, costing £160m, and Iftkhar Ahmed assisting HSBC with its £200m relocation to Arena Central. Philip Medford is in charge of residential development and acted for Catesby Estates on the £34m sale of its issued share capital to Urban & Civic.

Business acumen and industry knowledge is at the top end of the scale’ at Gateley Plc, where the team is particularly known for its work on behalf of housebuilders. Callum Nuttall has an ‘excellent commercial brain’ and advised Bovis on the acquisition of land in Tavistock for 750 new homes, while Tim Ledger assisted the Richborough Estates Partnership with the acquisition and promotion of land in Winsford for a residential development. Rebecca Sherwin, who jointly heads the team with Nuttall, specialises in real estate finance and advises clients such as HSBC and RBS.

Gowling WLG’s ‘deep experience and senior hands-on approach’ makes it a popular choice with clients such as Taylor Wimpey, Miller Developments and St Modwen. The substantial team covers a full range of work, with particular strengths in mixed-use developments, regeneration and investment, especially in shopping centres. Richard Beckingsale advised Barnet Council on the Brent Cross South regeneration scheme, while ‘excellent all-round development adviserMike Trainer assisted IM Properties with the development of a new facility in Witton, Birmingham for the city’s wholesale food market. Other names to note are practice head Richard Bate and John Burns.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s six-partner practice includes Joel Kordan, who is noted for his automotive expertise, healthcare specialist Tom Eastwood and David Meecham, who leads on public sector property work. Practice head Tom Johnson focuses on development and regeneration schemes and advised Arena Central Developments on the funding, development and disposal of 2 Arena Central to HSBC. In another key mandate, Kultar Khangura assisted KfW IPEX-Bank with its £90m refinancing of the Pant y Wal wind farm. The team’s impressive client list includes IM Properties, Miller Developments and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Shoosmiths LLP’s practice ‘gives straight commercial advice without fuss or delays’ and has particular strength in advising on investment and development in the retail sector. Highlights included acting for Citygrove Securities on the £120m acquisition and regeneration of a site in Ruislip, and assisting Stoford Developments with the purchase, development and forward funding of a site in Wigan to create a logistical hub for Poundland. Head of practice Jason Jacksongets the job done’, James Needham is a ‘very safe pair of hands’, and investment specialist Brian Hession is ‘very strong on technical detail’.

Squire Patton Boggs remained active on behalf of a number of substantial organisations with large property portfolios. For example, the team handled 64 transactions, including acquisitions, disposals and lease renewals, for Signet Group. Practice head Nick Green acted for Jurys Inns in its £680m sale to Lone Star Investments, and regeneration specialists Anne O’Meara and Victoria Camfield continued to represent Birmingham City Council in relation to the Arena Central development. West Midlands Pensions Fund and Touch Developments were client wins.

Strong negotiatorFiona Thomson leads the team at DLA Piper UK LLP, which regularly acts on deals with a cross-border element. In one example, Roger Collier advised UPS on the acquisition of a site at DP World London Gateway Logistics Park. Director Madeline Jenkins is ‘very knowledgeable’ and assisted Tattershall Castle Group with the disposal of its business to Stonegate Pub Company.

Hill Hofstetter’s ‘very experienced team’ was boosted by the arrival of former surveyor Mark Lee from Lodders Solicitors LLP. In addition to its customary focus on lifecycle development work, the team saw an increase in residential work, with Jonathan Wright advising Cala Homes on its purchase of a site in Shipston on Stour from IMI. The ‘technically excellent’ Sue Simpson heads the practice.

Real estate chair Kevin Nagle and head of commercial real estate Adrian Bland lead the team at Shakespeare Martineau LLP, which is active in a range of areas, including Islamic finance, energy and retail. James Gooch assisted New Wood Securities with the refinance and disposal of an investment portfolio, while Debbie Irwin handled a number of mandates for Barratt Homes.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s three partners are Dominic Swift, Thomas Howard and the newly promoted Lisa McGinn. Key strengths include the public sector, particularly health and education, and the team remained busy on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency.

DWF’s practice is led by the ‘tenacious and very approachableMelanie Williams, who advised the Homes and Communities Agency on the disposal of a regeneration site at Ansty. The team was once again active in the hotel sector for clients such as Berkeley Square Developments and Starwood International. National real estate head Toby Askin splits his time between the firm’s London and Birmingham offices. Zo Hoida is now with Weightmans LLP.

At Mills & Reeve LLP, Christian Bull and Michael Whatley have expertise in education and health respectively. Bull advised Birmingham City University on an £82m mixed-use student development at Eastside Locks, while Whatley assisted Partnerships In Care with the real estate aspects of various business acquisitions.

Veale Wasbrough Vizards’ practice was enhanced by the hire of education specialist Clive Read from Shakespeare Martineau LLP. Read wins praise for his ‘sound, accessible and pragmatic advice’. Other key players are consultant Adrian Watson and charity specialist Anne Holmes.

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Legal Developments in West Midlands for Commercial property: Birmingham

  • 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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