Commercial property: Nottingham and Derby in East Midlands
Browne Jacobson LLP's Nottingham team covers the entire ambit of commercial property matters for public and private sector clients. It performs equally well advising clients both on a standalone basis and as part of a wider national group, where cross-office support is required. Its market-leading reputation is underlined by its breadth of expertise; in the retail sector, practice head Sarah Parkinson has a wealth of experience of acting for household-name retailers on acquisitions and phased relocations, among other matters. The education sector is another strength of the firm, which advises on academy conversions, academy mergers, and acquisitions and disposals of freehold interests, among other mandates. Deputy practice head Barry Sully heads up a specialist development and housing team, which acts for developers, housing associations, local authorities and landowners. Elsewhere, the health industry is another key workstream of the practice. Suki Tonks, Robert Wofinden and Gabor Taller are other key figures.
Sarah Parkinson (head of department); Barry Sully (deputy head of department)
‘Thorough and professional experts, personalised services tailored to suit specific requirements’
‘The team demonstrates an excellent level of professionalism and it is personable, helpful, supportive, flexible, reliable and consistent‘
‘Browne Jacobson’s team has an in-depth knowledge of the complex nature of NHS and the legal requirements of other government agencies‘
‘Very responsive and able to deliver to whatever timelines are set‘
‘Suki Tonks is responsive, always available and returns calls as soon as possible. She inspires great confidence that detail is covered and that she is able to understand both commercial and legal requirements’
Walgreens Boots Alliance
East Midlands Ambulance Service National Health Service Trust
London Borough of Croydon
LVMH – Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Kiko Uk Limited
Miller Birch Developments
- Acted for Shropshire Council on the £51m acquisition of three linked shopping centres in Shrewsbury by acquiring the Jersey Property Unit Trusts which held the assets; this was the largest-ever deal undertaken by the client.
- Advised shareholders on the £52m sale of Manthorpe Building Products Holdings to Polypipe Group.
- Advising Midlands-based developer Miller Birch on the acquisition, redevelopment and disposal of the historic Guildhall complex in Nottingham city centre – one of the largest developments in the city’s history.
- Acted for Amalgamated Holdings Wilkinson on the acquisition of 118-120 Colmore Row – a substantial retail and residential investment block in the centre of Birmingham.
- Advising Leicestershire County Council on the East of Lutterworth Strategic Development Area – the proposed ‘urban extension’ to the town of Lutterworth: 2,750 new homes, employment development, two new schools and retail, leisure and community facilities together with major road infrastructure connecting to the M1.
Freeths LLP is a top-tier firm in all types of commercial property matters in the East Midlands, including commercial and residential development projects, regeneration projects, property finance, and investment sales and acquisitions. In addition to having a stable of longstanding clients, the firm continues to win work from new sources. Darren Williamson is the firm's national head of real estate. Guy Winfield, who runs the team in Nottingham, focuses on the food retail and industrial sectors. Property development expert Heather Davies, whose practice is split between Nottingham and Derby, is experienced in matters connected with areas such as waste to energy, the private rented sector, mines and minerals, and hotels. Jon Smart has a standout reputation in the care sector. James Clamp made partner in 2018.
Darren Williamson; Guy Winfield
Other key lawyers:
‘The team understands how we work and what we want. It is practical and gets transactions done‘
BDW Trading (Barratt, David Wilson Homes)
Cambridge & Counties Bank
- Acting for Scotch Corner Designer Village on the development and the first pre-lets of a 92-unit designer outlet village at Scotch Corner, North Yorkshire.
- Acted for The Market Village Company on the high value and time critical sale (via pre-emption rights) of Brixton Market to Hondo Enterprises.
- Advised Nottinghamshire County Council Pension Fund on the forward purchase of The Pavilion and The Oast House, Spinningfields, Manchester from Allied London.
- Advised Harworth Estates Investments Limited on the redevelopment of a former colliery at Swadlincote, Derbyshire
- Advised LNT Care Developments, a care home specialist developer and construction company, on the forward commit sales to institutional fund (Octopus Healthcare) in relation to three new build luxury care homes with a combined turn-key value of £30m.
Gateley Plc's standing in the market is reflected by its strong record of advising on multimillion-pound transactions and large, high-profile developments, as well as other general property matters. The high calibre of its practice sees the firm act for national and international clients, such as Starwood Capital Group and Henry Boot Developments. Steven Plummer heads up a newly formed, specialist residential development team, which acts for 18 of the top 20 housebuilders in the UK. Another key figure is senior associate Elly Duggins, who leads on matters involving real estate finance and pensions scheme work, and works with associate Charlotte Chapman on insolvency-related distressed property transactions. 'Extremely knowledgeable' practice head Adam Youatt has particular expertise in healthcare sector transactions, and acts for GP practices, medical property developers and other health service providers.
Adam Youatt (Head of Real Estate, Nottingham); Steven Plummer (Head of Residential Development, Nottingham)
‘Excellent practice with national coverage and readily accessible regional offices‘
‘The standout features of the team are its quality of communication and availability. Its personal touch is also noted‘
‘Adam Youatt is a star and is always my first choice of partner to work with on property matters. Charlotte Chapman assists him and she is a very safe pair of hands‘
‘The Nottingham team consistently hits the mark on professionalism, customer service and its ability to view a situation from a number of angles and read between the lines‘
‘Adam Youatt is extremely knowledgeable, responsive, and perhaps most importantly, tenacious on our behalf. He is also very pragmatic and on many occasions has provided sage counsel when we have been both over and under-ambitious in our contract negotiations‘
‘The team provides a commercial and pragmatic approach to real estate transactions‘
Custodian REIT Plc
HSBC Bank Plc
Peter James Homes Limited
Guildhall Estates Limited
Harworth Group Plc
Henry Davidson Developments
Starwood Capital Group
Lloyds Bank Plc
- Advised Bildurn on its development of a site at Station Street, Nottingham, including the complex sale of part of the site to Vita for student accommodation.
- Acted for KPMG as administrators of Countrywide Farmers. The company held a large number of properties, which were sold off to various buyers along with parts of the business.
- Advised Custodian REIT Plc on the purchase of two multi-occupied retail parks for in excess of £25m.
- Advised Peter James Homes on the acquisition of a residential development site from administrators in Bullbridge.
- Advised Harworth Group on the sale of first serviced part of 112-acre mixed-use major development site at Riverdale Park, Doncaster.
A distinguishing feature of Geldards LLP's offering is its specialist 'networks team', which comprises more than 40 lawyers handling property work for clients in the gas and electricity distribution sectors; Jamie Gordon, who heads up this arm of the commercial property practice, has significant experience of pre-lets and regeneration schemes, among other matters. Elsewhere, the firm has made an increased push for work from public sector clients; Tiffany Cloynes leads a specialist team, which advises local authorities on matters such as disposals of surplus land and joint ventures with developers. In the education sector, Paul Hilsdon and others act for academy sponsors and schools. Evidencing the firm's credentials in the retail industry, it is one of only three English law firms on the property panel of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Other sector strengths include healthcare, motor retail, agriculture and charities. Derby team head Graham Banks and Heather Dixon have an outstanding reputation in residential and commercial development projects. David Watson leads the commercial property group in Nottingham. Hélène Maillet-Vioud joined in 2018 from Knights PLC.
Graham Banks (Derby); David Watson (Nottingham); Jamie Gordon (Nottingham – Networks)
‘A dedicated team with a total focus on the client’s requirements. I’ve never had cause to suspect any hint of a let-up in the push to improve results. Easy and rapid access to specialists‘
‘Jamie Gordon provides both professional advice and unstinting support with the client’s wider requirements, such as attending stakeholder events and ensuring the provision of management information for internal reporting; all members of Jamie’s team are focused on delivery to ensure optimum outcomes and maximum output. Excellent service‘
‘There is a clear and distinct high level of professionalism at Geldards. Communication is exceptional and the team is a real pleasure to work with‘
‘Fair knowledge of the energy industry‘
‘The Competitions in Connections team provides valuable support and service to our group companies. It has an understanding of our industry which is essential when procuring land rights‘
‘Heather Dixon in Derby is every bit the equal of property lawyers from London and Birmingham; she is very, very hardworking, resourceful and a dream to work with‘
Bowmer & Kirkland
Walgreens Boots Alliance
CWC Group – (Clowes Developments (UK) Limited and Dove Valley Park Limited)
Miller Birch/Cedar House
PPH1 Ltd and DPK Management
BioCity Group Limited
Stadler Rail Service UK Limited
Derby City Council
Leicester City Council
Sheffield City Council
Nottinghamshire County Council
Office Depot Group
Electricity North West
Western Power Distribution
Omya UK Limited
Wacker Neuson Limited
Redrow Homes Limited
Wise Living Homes
Trent Barton Buses
Connections Legal Management
UK Power Networks
UK Power Distribution
Harlaxton Energy Services
Energy Assets Networks
Wellingborough Borough Council
Synergy Health Managed Services Limited
Carlisle City Council
- Ongoing advice on the development of Fairham Pastures, Rushcliffe for the delivery of up to 3,000 new homes and 100,000 square metres of employment land for light industrial, distribution and offices.
- Ongoing advice to Leicester City Council on the first phase of its Waterside Regeneration Scheme; a project of very significant local and regional importance, which anticipates the rejuvenation of some 60 acres of former industrial land adjacent to the city centre, with the council bringing forward a residential scheme with retail, commercial and leisure components.
- Acted on behalf of BioCity Group on the acquisition and development of the ‘Discovery Building’, a new bioscience incubator facility which has been constructed adjacent to BioCity’s existing facility at Pennyfoot Street, Nottingham.
- Obtained clarification from the Land Registry on what constitutes ‘valuable consideration’ to protect networks industry operators.
- Advising Sheffield City Council on its development agreement with Urban Splash relating to Park Hill Sheffield, the largest listed building in Europe.
At Shakespeare Martineau LLP, development work is one of the mainstays of the practice, and the firm's enviable client roster includes local and national developers and international investors. The team includes Brendan Walsh, who has 30 years of experience of commercial development - including out of town retail, leisure and office regeneration projects - and also residential promotion and development. Like Walsh, Peter Dilks has strong capabilities in commercial development, and he also heads up a specialist national real estate energy team, which specialises primarily in the development of reserve power and alternative energy technologies; it has acted on schemes with a gross development value in excess of £1.5bn. Elsewhere, the firm acts for banks, funds and venture capitalists on secured lending and development finance transactions, as well as property investments. Roger Harcourt, Victoria Bovington and others act for healthcare specialists and developers in the senior living and healthcare sector, while legal director Sarah Gunton is recommended.
Peter Dilks; Brendan Walsh
Wilson Bowden Developments Limited
Lloyds Bank Plc
LG Capital & Investment Limited
Foundation Property Company Limited
Statera Energy Limited
AIB Group (UK) Plc
Brackley Property Developments Limited
Mattioli Woods on behalf of the Johal Pension Fund
Shoby Properties Limited
Sun Chemical Limited
IWWS (UK) Limited
- Negotiated development agreements for Wilson Bowden Developments on two 100-acre plus Midlands sites.
- Advised Statera Energy on development and subsequent refinance of largest battery storage facility in UK.
- Advising Garner Holdings on the development and disposal of Denby Hall Business Park.
- Advising Greystacks Developments on the development of a 132-studio student scheme in Exeter.
- Acted for Mattioli Woods on the acquisition and development of the largest new build office scheme in the centre of Leicester for over a decade.
Shoosmiths LLP covers matters across the commercial property spectrum for household-name corporates, funds and investors, and UK-based lenders. Corporate occupier work is one notable pillar of the practice, with the firm having a particular strength in the UK retail and leisure sector, although other clients come from sectors such as logistics and heavy equipment. On the investment side, the team handles a mix of investment purchases and sales, and portfolio and joint venture transactions, as well as associated advice on asset management. Commercial development work is another cornerstone of the practice. Sean Burke heads up the group in Nottingham, which includes Ellis Gardner-Browne, Deborah Gordon Brown, David Morley and Matthew Kenwood. Legal director Matthew Kemp is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
Abbey Commercial Limited
AEW Europe LLP – Festival Place Unit Trust
Attenborough Alpha J
Brunswick Real Estate UK
Chelsea FC Plc
Deb Group Plc
Doosan Industrial Vehicles UK Limited
Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd
Fulham Shore Plc
IKEA Group of Companies
John Deere Limited
Karen Jones CBE
Mountain Warehouse Limited
Pizza Hut (UK) Limited
Stainton International Limited
Thomas Cook Limited
Walgreen Boots Alliance Group of Companies
White & Case
- Advising Walgreen Boots Alliance on all matters connected with the management of its English, Welsh and Scottish real estate portfolio. As one of three panel law firms in England/Wales it advises on a mixture of new lease acquisitions both high street and edge of town, lease renewals and regears.
- Acting for Estee Lauder Cosmetics on all matters connected with the client’s English retail real estate portfolio as sole legal adviser.
- Acting as Mountain Warehouse’s sole legal adviser on its retail real estate portfolio in England and Wales, as well as providing project advice on European acquisitions.
- Advising Joules on the acquisition of two new significant out of town discount outlets including a pre-let unit at the planned Scotch Corner Designer Village.
- Handling all pure UK real estate legal work for Brunswick Real Estate UK.
Flint Bishop LLP's team is highly regarded for its involvement in development projects, including residential, commercial, retail, leisure, industrial and mixed-use schemes. The scope of its expertise in this area includes site acquisitions and disposals, site assembly, joint ventures, options and and forward funding agreements. Group head Ian Beardmore has 30 years of experience of acting for some of the largest property and construction firms in the East Midlands. Also recommended for their development expertise are Bev Simms and Christine Owen, as is Lucy Carter, whose practice also covers leases, farm acquisitions/disposals and the property related aspects of academy conversions (in the education sector).
Bowmer & Kirkland Group of Companies
Clowes Developments Group of Companies
Ivygrove Developments Limited
MHA (Methodist Homes)
Donald Ward Limited
- Advised Birkett House School on the high-profile acquisition of the site of Birkett House Special School involving a highly complex situation concerning multiple land owning parties and the simultaneous surrender of various freehold and leasehold interests.
Fraser Brown strengthened its commercial property practice during 2018 with the hire of former Spearing Waite partner Erin Vickers. Vickers has extensive experience of real estate matters arising from corporate reorganisations, and corporate acquisitions and disposals, and has particular expertise in the retail and leisure and industrial sectors. The team is led by Anthony Ogley, who specialises in development work, which includes residential, commercial and mixed-use schemes. Chris Barnes is another notable individual. In addition to being a major player in the East Midlands market, the firm also generates work from national and international clients.
Nelsons Solicitors Limited's recent work has included advising developers on high-value developments and strategic land projects, as well as undertaking refinancing work for institutional lenders and assisting pension scheme trustees with property acquisitions. The team also handled mandates for local and national retailers, and also charities and other voluntary sector clients, and educational establishments. The firm offers extensive coverage of the Nottingham and Derby markets, with specialist teams being based in both areas. Riaz Dudhia is the overall practice head.
‘Riaz Dudhia has built a team of exceptional competence and commerciality‘
‘Its team is approachable, knowledgeable and refreshingly easy to deal with, compared to some. It has a wide variety of expertise and inspires confidence that, if it is instructed to deal with a matter, it will do so promptly and efficiently‘
Redrow Homes East Midlands Limited
Fairgrove Homes Limited
PKF Cooper Parry LLP
Giant UK Limited
Carlton Street Trading Limited
Intelligent Money Limited
Talbot & Muir Limited
- Advised Carlton Street Trading on the acquisition of a freehold site from a selling pub company, and then acted for the client (as landlords) in the grant of a new lease to a microbrewery.
- Advised Aspire 4 Fitness on taking on a lease for a start-up gym/leisure business, as part of its expansion plans.
- Advised FC Cartons on exiting a lease and relocating to a purpose-designed unit which is more than triple the size of its existing plant.
- Acting for Carlton Street Trading Limited on the acquisition of a row of historic buildings in Carrington Street for regeneration which will complement the wider Broadmarsh redevelopment.
Actons garners a significant amount of praise from its clients, with strong credentials in high-value commercial property transactions. Team head Amanda Gordon has more than 30 years of experience, and is regularly sought-out by local and national businesses and charities. Another key figure is director Caroline Pearson, whose transactional experience (including freehold and leasehold acquisitions and sales) is part of a wider practice, which covers landlord and tenant matters, and residential and commercial development work. Secured lending transactions are another core part of her practice. Recently promoted director Zoe Romain and associate Lisa Poole are also recommended.
‘The team at Actons has a broad and in-depth understanding of the complex needs of family businesses, and the nuances associated with these. It works hard to understand the client’s history, objectives and perspectives, and is able to convey advice in a simple and succinct manner‘
‘Caroline Pearson is an enjoyable person to work with; she displays a solution- focused approach to her work, which is both refreshing and hugely commercially valuable to the clients she represents. She has a detailed knowledge of agricultural legislation and, importantly, can convey complex advice to farming clients who are not always adept with the mechanics of the job. Her communication and feedback is timely, both verbal and written‘
‘The team works extremely well together‘
‘Amanda Gordon is undaunted by any challenge or request‘
‘Amanda Gordon is readily available, quick to respond to ad hoc queries and extremely efficient in handling transactions. Her advice is reliable and she is utterly dependable in all areas of her work‘
‘Lisa Poole is very bright and capable‘
‘Lisa Poole is a fantastic ambassador for Actons; she is very thorough and knowledgeable‘
‘The team has a very can-do attitude, and a determination to meet deadlines and targets no matter how tight the client’s requirements‘
Vision Homes (Burton Road) Limited
Chevin Group Holdings Limited
- Acted for the investment purchaser on the acquisition of mixed-use property including two ground floor commercial office units and five student let properties.
- Acted for Chevin Group on the purchase of a mixed-use property portfolio comprising offices, retail, licensed premises, car park and residential accommodation, with funding from a national lender.
- Acted for Vision Homes following completion of a development of a number of residential dwellings on a new site.
- Advising Framework on all aspects of its property acquisitions and development. Recent work included the purchase of a number of properties, including the purchase of existing social housing from the Guinness Housing Association and various property purchases for development for use as future social housing, including a former public house.
Vik Moothia, the department head at Austin Moore & Partners LLP, has been practising in the Nottingham legal market for more than 16 years, and has built up a wealth of transactional experience. Under his leadership the firm has become well-known for other work including landlord and tenant matters, property development and property finance. Rachael Briggs is another key partner in the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘Austin Moore & Partners is a very proactive, responsive and forward-thinking firm, fielding commercial lawyers who do as they say, and in the timescale you agree with them’
‘Vik and the rest of the team are always on the end of the phone. They tell you in straight talk what the issues are’
‘Vic Moothia is a very experienced property lawyer. Rachael Briggs is always available if problems arise’
‘A first-class team, which responds to demands and executes what’s needed precisely and quickly’
200 Degrees Coffee Shops Limited
Birds (Derby) Limited
Paragon Property Development Company
Instarmac Holdings Limited
Harmony Bridge Limited
Mr Tajinder Singh Ubhi (and associated companies)
Mr Carl Springthorpe
BS Squared Limited
IH Moore and Company (Holdings Limited)
Mr Gabriel Strauss (and associated companies)
Mr Neil Footitt
- Acted for 200 Degrees Coffee Shop on the acquisition of a new site in the Corn Hill Quarter in Lincoln City Centre.
- Acted for Harmony Bridge Limited on the site setup of a development of 121 apartments.
- Advised KLPG Limited on the acquisition of site for development as a chalet park.
- Acted for CS Properties Limited and Bulcote Investments Limited on the acquisition of 19 freehold and leasehold commercial and residential properties from LPA receivers.
- Acted for Birds (Derby) Limited on the relocation of its store in Victoria Centre, Nottingham.
Smith Partnership handles a varied portfolio of local and national work for clients ranging from growth companies and developers to large privately-held businesses and listed companies. On the development side of the practice, team head Jason Wood has a strong track record advising developers on land acquisitions for residential development, as well as associated financing, and subsequent plot sales. Elsewhere, the firm's other work includes freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, property portfolio management and landlord and tenant work. In addition to undertaking standalone mandates, the team provides support on the property aspects of corporate transactions. Rashid Ali is developing a specialism in the health sector, with an emphasis on matters involving pharmacies. Associate Tara Harding is particularly active in the licensed trade space, where she advises on the acquisition, disposal and letting of licensed premises; clients include hotels, public houses, restaurants and clubs.
‘The level of service is excellent. Smith Partnership always makes transactions seem personal and friendly, on top of the underlying professionalism that is always a given. Makes legal work (often a dry subject) much more interactive and enjoyable. Other firms can make you feel like just another faceless client queueing for attention, Smith Partnership make you feel that it cares about you and your business‘
‘Individual contacts are a pleasure to work with, and always friendly and pleasant. The service is always personable and attentive, and work is turned around swiftly‘
‘Reliable, responsive and good value‘
‘Rashid Ali is very diligent and proactive‘
Sovereign Crest Limited
Comex 2000 Limited
Granite Homes Limited
Bridgefast Beech Partnership
Reece Enterprises Limited
Littler Investments Limited
Blueline Homes Limited
Cromford Group Limited
CT Skills Limited
- Acted for Derby Museums on the lease of the Silk Mill, Derby, and the funding of the refurbishment with the assistance of funding from the Arts Council and Big Lottery Fund.
- Advised Metanodic Engineers Limited on the grant of a lease of factory premises to TJX Ltd (TKMax) for five years.