Real estate and construction in Belgium
Allen & Overy LLP
Daniel Gillet heads the department at Allen & Overy LLP, which is well known for its expertise in real estate financing and M&A matters, particularly with a multi-jurisdictional flavour. Recent highlights include Gillet advising Trinova Real Estate on its acquisition of the global headquarters of Besix. The client roster also includes Aareal Bank, ING Bank France and Patrizia France. Senior associate Sébastien de Callatay is also recommended. In January 2019 Rudy Dupont joined from Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL.
Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's real estate team had another buoyant year in 2018, acting on a number of high-value transactions for financial institutions and developers involving residential, office, commercial and hotel acquisitions. Highlights included advising Equity Estate Participations on terminating a Murabaha structure with Kuwait Finance House and acquiring a cross-border portfolio of logistic properties from the entity. Jean-François Vandenberghe is the name to note. Rudy Dupont moved to Allen & Overy LLP in January 2019.
Clifford Chance’s highly regarded real estate practice is a synergy of real estate finance, tax proficiency and corporate real estate expertise. The team is well known for handling high-value, complex transactions; for example, practice head Henri D’Ursel led the advice to Union Investment Real Estate on the sale of the Corporate Village office development. Pieter De Bock and senior associate Lise Gruber are key contacts. Alexandre Ooms has extensive experience in real estate tax matters. Matthias Maselis, previously a senior associate with the firm, joined Stibbe as a partner in September 2019.
Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's 'excellent' team attracts praise for its 'all-round expertise covering all areas of real estate'. Transactional work is a core area of instruction; recent work includes assisting AG Real Estate with the €400m sale of the Woluwe Shopping Center, and advising Belfius Bank on acquiring an office building development, which is to be built by real estate developer Artone. Befimmo is another key client for the firm. Yves Delacroix, who is 'an excellent negotiator' and 'a true dealmaker', heads the department. Alexandre Emond, senior associate Julie De Bonnet and tax specialist Pierre Desenfans are also noted.
The 'effective and efficient' real estate practice at Linklaters takes in real-estate related M&A and joint ventures, litigation, PPPs and finance, alongside buy-and-sell property mandates. Highlights included advising a consortium formed by a real estate company and a contractor on a successful public procurement award for the second redevelopment of a hotel and convention centre on the Heysel site in Brussels; practice head Yves Moreau led the advice on this matter. Pieter Puelinckx and counsel France Englebert are other names to note.
Stibbe reports an increase in transactional work in the real estate space, which covers professional, commercial, residential, retail and hotel development projects. Financing work and PPP matters are other areas of instruction, for which the team works closely with corporate, public and environmental law experts. Recent highlights include Rony Vermeersch leading the advice to investment company LRM on the development and project financing aspects of the 100MW Kristal Solar Park, and in another matter, assisting Grimbergen Abbey with the negotiations for the development of a micro-brewery. Rudy Nauwelaerts, counsel Pieter Bogaert and of counsel Benoît Kohl are also noted. Matthias Maselis was a new arrival from Clifford Chance in September 2019.
DLA Piper handles the gamut of real estate matters, and is widely recognised for its strength in handling logistics, retail, and office projects, among other areas. In a recent highlight, the team assisted Helaba with the financing aspect of the €380m acquisition of the North Light/Pole Star offices by South Korean investors from Belfius Insurance and AG Insurance. Dirk Caestecker heads the practice. Michaël Bollen moved to Laurius in July 2018.
Loyens & Loeff has been active handling high-value acquisitions and transactions in the real estate space. In one highlight, practice head Christophe Laurent led the advice to L’Etoile Properties (which was acting on behalf of Korea Investment & Securities) on the acquisition of a leasehold right worth €369m from Cofinimmo on the Egmont I and II office buildings in Brussels. Ariane Brohez is another key name.
Lydian's real estate practice has a strong focus on developer and investor clients at a national and international level. Department head Wouter Neven has expertise in property transactions, and is known for handling commercial, retail, residential and office developments; he is leading the advice to BNP Paribas Fortis on the ongoing construction of the company's new headquarters in Brussels. Senior associate Bruno Stroobants is also recommended.
Recent work for the team at NautaDutilh includes lease mandates, PPP matters, and high-value transactions. Key highlights include advising a real estate company on the granting of a 99-year lease for office buildings occupied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Didier De Vliegher led on this matter. Nicolas de Crombrugghe is noted for his financial expertise.
The 'reactive and pragmatic' team at Simont Braun is well known for its 'strong expertise in construction, public and administrative law'. In a prominent highlight for the multidisciplinary practice, the firm was selected by means of a public tender to assist the Urban Development Corporation in Brussels with creating and implementing the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum and Architecture Museum development project. The 'brilliant' and 'very knowledgeable' Manuela von Kuegelgen leads the team. Counsel Martin Bassem departed the firm to become corporate legal counsel at SNCB.
ALTIUS attracts praise for its 'high level of expertise' in real estate law. The retail arena is a key strength for the practice; in a highlight, Lieven Peeters assisted Douwe Egberts with the sale of its main offices and production plant in Grimbergen. The team also handles instructions relating to the development of logistics parks, hotels and office buildings, to name a few. William Timmermans is a key contact for the regulatory aspects of real estate transactions.
CMS provides 'a very high level of service', and is noted for its extensive experience in property finance, development projects and transactional real estate matters. The client roster includes Fidentia BelLx Investments, NH Hotels, Siemens and Hard Rock Cafe. Bruno Duquesne leads the team, in which Pierre-Axel Chabot ('a real negotiator') is a key name.
Real estate transactional work and litigation are key areas of expertise for Cresco Advocaten's team, which represents a client base predominantly made up of hotels, retail, and food and beverage entities. Filip De Schouwer advises Percassi on a range of retail lease agreements in the Benelux region. Tessa Gijbels, dispute resolution specialist Natalie Lemense and senior associate Steven Daems are also noted.
K Law's 'very well-balanced' team 'covers all fields of real estate law'. In a recent highlight, the group assisted Codic International with the high-profile sale of the PassPort building in Zeventem to a Korean investor, after previously advising the same client on letting the building to five global corporations. The 'pragmatic' practice head Gerald Van Walle 'combines great legal knowledge with a business mind', and Jim Bauwens is 'dedicated' and 'hands on'.
'Very detailed and precise', Deloitte Legal’s real estate team has been very active in handling work for developer clients, with acquisition matters prominent in the group's workload. The client base includes the European Commission, Bpost, Citibank, AXA and Triple Living. Maximillien van de Werve is the key name in the practice.
Schoups' team is 'very experienced in real estate and construction' and attracts praise for its 'top-quality advice'. High-value and complex construction projects are a core strength, and the group is adept in public procurement matters and development disputes. Marco Schoups stands out as ‘one of the most experienced construction law specialists in Belgium’. Public procurement expert Kris Lemmens, Siegfried Busscher and Maarten Somers, who specialises in construction work, are names to note.
Johan Joos is the key contact in Eversheds Sutherland (Belgium) CVBA (a member of Eversheds Sutherland)'s real estate department, which handles real estate-related corporate, investment and PPP work, to name a few areas.
PPP infrastructure projects are a prominent area of expertise for Monard Law's real estate practice, which also takes in litigation, predominantly for contractor clients. Recent work for the team includes assisting the lenders of Iret Development with the financing for the construction of a new police headquarters in Antwerp. Names to note are Stefaan Van Dyck and Benoit Samyn.