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  1. Commercial property: Sheffield, South Yorkshire
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CMS is now a key name in the region following its recent merger with Nabarro LLP. Key names in the team include Rebecca Kitchingham, who specialises in matters concerning multi-let properties, Tanya Holt, who focuses on the healthcare sectors, and Sarah Meldrum, who is an expert in retail-related property matters. The group recently advised Sheffield City Council on the pre-letting of approximately 140,000sq ft to HSBC, which involved a complex jigsaw lease agreement. It also assisted Metrocentre Partnership with multiple matters, including handling the completion of a 45,000sq ft extension to the Qube catering hub, advising on an 8,000sq ft extension to Primark’s premises, and obtaining possession of the former BHS store and subsequently assisting with a reconfiguration of the property to develop a flagship store for Next. Other highlights include advising Brockton Capital and Dunedin Property on a £300m portfolio of multi-let industrial properties, assisting Barnsley-based Quest Property with the development of a Sheffield city centre building, handling the sale of a trading estate for a real estate investment management company, and advising on the refinancing of 19 care homes for a healthcare company. Other clients include CBRE Global Investors, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, BlackRock Investment Management and Hammerson.

At DLA Piper UK LLP, practice head Nigel Howard, Stephen Blacksell and Vikki McKay, have considerable strength advising on student accommodation and urban regeneration schemes, as well as acting for European investors acquiring UK portfolios, and handling real estate financing. The team advised on Urbo Regeneration’s development project in Sheffield’s business centre and assisted Chesterfield Waterside with a large-scale town centre development, which included the forward sale of a hotel, the development and sale of 320 residential units, an office development scheme and the development of multi-storey car park and associated infrastructure. Other highlights include assisting Blackstone Europe with the purchase of 6msq ft of UK-based logistics assets for its European logistics company, Logicar, from a joint venture between funds managed by Oaktree Capital and Anglesea Capital, advising Prologis on its acquisition of property for development purposes, and handling Sheffield City Council’s compulsory purchase of city centre land for the development of a new retail quarter. Other clients include Tata Steel, LloydsPharmacy, Threesixty Developments, Keepmoat Homes and Hibernia Atlantic.

HLW Keeble Hawson’s ‘very strong’ team is known for its expertise handling property portfolios for retail clients, advising developers, motor dealers and investors on acquisitions and disposals, assisting healthcare clients with land reorganisations and advising care homes on property issues. Team head Richard Smith has ‘all-round expertise which is hard to beat’ and is supported by Alaric Birch, Craig Law, Claire Mayfield-Tulip and Doncaster-based Paul Goel. The group recently acted for St Luke’s Hospice in acquiring Clifford House, and provided subsequent construction-related advice concerning its renovation to a multi-use centre for community-based palliative care, and advised Ackroyd & Abbott on a development agreement with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Universal Components to construct a 165,000sq ft advanced logistics facility for the relocation of Universal Components’ head office.

Irwin Mitchell’s team is ‘excellent for development matters’, and is also known for its strengths in mineral extraction work and acting for major property companies from the public and private sectors. National head of real estate Paul Firth acts for clients including Lafarge, Sibelco, Manchester Airports Group and the University of Sheffield on property portfolio issue and Andrew Wallis specialises in development projects from site acquisition through to exit strategies, particularly joint ventures and forward funding agreements. The duo advised a student accommodation fund on the disposal of a 25-unit portfolio to an Asian company, and are also advising Carillion on a £100m regeneration scheme in Durham, which comprises housing, commercial and retail developments. Thomas Hall joined Shoosmiths LLP’s Manchester office.

At Taylor & Emmet LLP, the team acts for a local and national client base, including SMEs, developers, pension funds, banks, charities, schools and not-for-profit organisations, on a range of property matters. Practice head Richard Kay, who splits his time between Bakewell and Sheffield, is experienced in acting for developers, local businesses and farmers, and handling sales and purchases of land, agricultural holdings and tenancies, as well as advising on mining leases for local tenant farmers and quarry owners. Recent highlights include assisting a family trust landowner with a proposed residential development, which included planning permission advice. Alastair Reid joined from Hill Dickinson LLP and George Thomson joined from BRM Solicitors.

At Wake Smith Solicitors Limited, practice head Neil Salter has expertise in retail investments and regeneration projects. Paul Gibbon advises landlords and tenants on commercial leases and acts for developers in acquiring residential and commercial developments, Lisa Davison assists with sales, purchases, and the funding of mixed-use developments, and Damien Donnelly and Ben Spencer are also noted. Recent highlights include advising Bisichi Northampton on the reorganisation of the retail parade element of a mixed-use asset; advising an investment company on the acquisition of a mixed-use development; and advising on the granting of two new leases to national retailers for H Ponsford at a newly redeveloped retail park in Sheffield.

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