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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Belgium > Real estate and construction > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Real estate and construction
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP excels in multi-jurisdictional transactions, where its ‘unrivalled network proves extremely efficient for pan-European transactions’. In addition to its real estate M&A capabilities, it also handles a range of real estate financing transactions. In a recent example, practice head Daniel Gillet advised Berlin Hyp on the €54m financing for the acquisition of Airport Plaza near Brussels airport by Dream Global. Senior associate Sébastien de Callatay is ‘a hardworking and very diplomatic dealmaker who drives things forward’.

The ‘highly dedicated and hardworking’ team at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL handles the gamut of real estate transactional work. It diversified its traditional investor client base, now acting for a range of players active in the real estate market, including developers and financial institutions. In litigation, it acts for owners, tenants, contractors and others. Highlights included its advice to Generali Real Estate Investments on the purchase of a central property in Brussels. ‘Tough negotiatorRudy Dupontknows everybody in the sector’; he took over as the practice head from senior counsel Dominique Lechien in July 2017.

One of the top law firms in Brussels’, Clifford Chance’s real estate department had another stellar year in 2017, acting on several major transactions in the Belgium and Luxembourg markets. The team incorporates corporate real estate, real estate finance and tax expertise. In a deal that exceeded €160m, it advised Allianz on the disposal of the Place de Brouckère Allianz site and the acquisition of new headquarters; practice head Henri d’Ursel took a lead role. Pieter De Bock, tax specialist Alexandre Ooms, senior associate Matthias Maselis and associate Lise Gruber are also noted.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick fields a team of ‘not only very good lawyers but also very good "dealmakers"’, who have ‘very detailed knowledge of Belgium real estate law, with seamless cooperation on other topics such as environmental law and corporate law’. Its regulatory team expanded with the arrival of François Tulkens and Vincent Ost from NautaDutilh in January 2017. Headline transactional work in the office space included practice head and ‘excellent negotiator’ Yves Delacroix advising Befimmo on the granting of a 99-year leasehold on the Brederode complex to CBRE Global Investors. The ‘proactive’ Alexandre Emond and Julie De Bonnet are also recommended.

Linklaters’ comprehensive real estate practice covers property sales and disposals, and real estate-related PPPs, finance and litigation. It had another busy year in 2017, with highlights including its advice to Patrimmonia Coccinelles on the sale of a residential care centre to Care Property Invest, a REIT listed on Euronext Brussels; a cross-practice team including Pieter Puelinckx led the advice. Yves Moreau heads the department and counsel France Englebert is another key figure.

Excellent’ firm Stibbe has a strong reputation in the real estate sector. Its experience spans real estate transactions in the residential, commercial, hotels, retail and office segments, and the team regularly collaborates with specialists in public, corporate and environmental law. Clients include private and public companies. For longstanding client the Belgian Buildings Agenc, the team recently advised on the public law, construction and project financing aspects of a new prison compound; Rony Vermeersch led the advice. Rudy Nauwelaerts, of counsel Benoît Kohl and associate Anneleen Quirynen are other names to note.

A good competitor in the Belgian real estate market’, DLA Piper is noted for its ‘constructive and solution-driven advice, which is outstanding compared to other law firms’. Areas of focus and specialism for the practice include retail, offices, elderly care, logistics and warehouses. Clients include Wereldhave Belgium, KBC Real Estate and Prowinko. Dirk Caestecker is ‘dedicated, smart and fast’ and Michaël Bollen has ‘in-depth market knowledge’.

Loyens & Loeff is recommended for its ‘high-quality service’ and ‘accurate advice’. It is instructed in a broad range of areas, including real estate investments, management, property development and tax. It played a role in a high percentage of the major real estate transactions in 2016 and 2017; in one highlight, it advised CBRE Global Investors on the acquisition of shopping centre Médiacité in Liège. Christophe Laurent and Ariane Brohez receive praise.

Lydianreally stands out for its in-depth knowledge and responsiveness’; it has a broad portfolio of domestic and international clients active in various subsectors of the real estate market. Its team operates from the firm’s offices in Brussels, Antwerp and Hasselt. Wouter Neven has ‘a calm demeanour which makes him easy to work with and makes him effective in persuading people to his point of view’. Senior associate Bruno Stroobants has strong experience in real estate transactions and construction litigation.

Didier De Vliegher heads the real estate group at NautaDutilh, which ‘delivers a first-class service’. Its cross-practice approach sees it teaming up with colleagues specialised in finance, capital markets, urban planning and environmental law. In 2017, it advised Midcore on the divestment of buildings from its Markland portfolio, which had been acquired in 2016 in a transaction which the team also advised on. Nicolas de Crombrugghe is also noted.

The real estate and regulatory department at Altius is well versed in the retail sector and also advises its clients on hotels, logistics parks and senior citizens’ housing. Lieven Peeters and associate Kathleen Verbiest advised Corinthia Hotels on the renovation of a former five-star hotel in Brussels.

At CMS, the real estate group’s ‘local experience, connections and insights are invaluable’ and it is also highlighted for offering ‘good value for money’. Transactional real estate and property finance are among the team’s areas of expertise. In addition, its urban planning and environmental law capabilities were strengthened by the arrival of counsel Gregory Verhelst in 2016 from a Belgian firm. Pierre-Axel Chabot is active in the hotels industry. Bruno Duquesne is also recommended.

Cresco Advocaten acts for investors, entrepreneurs, domestic and foreign companies and public institutions; clients highlight the team’s ‘availability, responsiveness and pro-activeness’ among its major strengths. Filip De Schouwer is currently advising Percassi on various retail lease agreements in the Benelux region. The firm is also recommended for real estate litigation; Natalie Lemense is a key contact for dispute resolution. Tessa Gijbels and senior associate Steven Daems receive praise.

Eubelius has ‘unmatched legal and tax knowledge for publicly listed BE-REITs’, and has recently assisted various BE-REITs on rights issues on Euronext Brussels and Euronext Amsterdam. Other recent work includes Barteld Schutyser’s advice to AG Vespa on the procurement process and contract documentation for a PPP project. Practice head Lars Van Bever and Wouter Claes are recommended.

A very welcome alternative to the Magic Circle firms’, Laga’s real estate practice leverages the strong reputation of Maximilien van de Werve, ‘who combines sharp legal insight with highly developed social skills and an astute strategic approach’. Its client base extends to all segments of the real estate sector and includes investors, developers and public and private companies. In one recent highlight, the team represented Immobel on the development and sale of the Black Pearl office project in Brussels.

Marx, Van Ranst, Vermeersch & Partners has a broad real estate practice that takes in industrial and retail property transactions, construction and property litigation. The team recently assisted an international education company on the real estate aspects of the transfer of its school activities to a British operator of private schools. Stefaan Verbouwe is the practice head.

McGuireWoods LLP’s workload in the real estate space is divided between transactional, non-transactional advisory work and disputes. The team has a strong governmental practice, and regularly acts for foreign governments on Belgian real estate transactions. It has been advising the government of Québec on numerous matters since 2015, recently assisting with the termination of office leases in Brussels. Steven Ongena heads the department, which includes key counsel Pol Cools.

Schoups fields ‘highly skilled lawyers’ that have ‘exceptional experience in the real estate and construction industry in Belgium’ and ‘a practical and honest approach’. The firm excels in construction projects, development matters and disputes, and is also well versed in public procurement. Marco Schoups is ‘an impressive speaker and excellent litigator’ and Kris Lemmens is ‘one of the top specialists in the area of public procurement law’. Chantal De Smedt and Siegfried Busscher are also recommended.

Simont Braun’s team combines ‘a deep knowledge of the law with an understanding of the real estate industry’ and provides ‘a high level of service’. The integrated real estate, public law and administrative law practice acts for developers, investors, private equity firms and public entities. Practice head Manuela von Kuegelgen receives plaudits for her ‘good business acumen’ and ‘creativity’; Martin Bassem was promoted to counsel in 2017.

Ashurst LLP has a strong emphasis on the private equity sector, and also acts for corporates on their real estate transactions. Practice head David Du Pont assisted Voxbone with the lease negotiations of its Brussels head office.

Bird & Bird advises its clients – many of which are active in the TMT and life sciences sectors – on leasing arrangements, environmental issues and real estate financing. Tax specialist Brent Springael and corporate partner Marc Martens are the names to note.

Eversheds Sutherland (Belgium) CVBA (a member of Eversheds Sutherland) fields a team of ‘extremely efficient’ and ‘down-to-earth’ lawyers. Practice head Johan Joostakes on very complex tasks and is able to think in an industrial environment where it is not just legal issues at stake’.

Monard Law is praised for its ‘short response times’ and ‘accurate knowledge’. Stefaan Van Dyck advised Belgian property developer Kolmont on its construction and development financing, and Benoit Samyn assisted a contractor with its bid for a new PPP project. Real estate litigation also features.

Racinehas a pragmatic approach and demonstrates clear knowledge’ and handles contentious and non-contentious real estate matters. Its diverse client portfolio includes public and private companies. Isabelle Cooreman and counsel Stijn Claeys are recommended.

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