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Real estate in Ecuador

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce remains a key firm in the real estate sector, advising on several of the jurisdiction's largest projects for a client base that includes several of the market's largest names. Public-private partnerships are a notable recent area of work for the firm, with a multidisciplinary team advising IBT Group on its proposal to the Ministry of Health regarding the design, construction, financing and maintenance of 20 kidney disease centres. The team is led by Sandra Reed, who is particularly recommended for project financing, PPP and joint venture work, alongside Diego Pérez-Ordoñez, who focuses on the negotiation and implementation of long-term lease and concession agreements and other contractual matters. Other key figures include Juan Manuel Marchán and senior associates Nicolás Maldonado and Estefanía López.

Practice head(s):

Sandra Reed

Testimonials

‘It is a highly specialised practice, with attorneys who understand their clients’ business. The firm has a high level of sophistication and international standards. It is by far the best law firm I have ever worked with.’

‘We have had an excellent experience with Juan Manuel Marchán, who is a first-rate specialist and fully available to his clients. An expert in transactional matters, M&A and infrastructure, he has become our go-to adviser.’

‘PBP has an experienced and highly qualified team whose members have great technical legal knowledge. Furthermore, since it is a full-service firm, it can provide services in various areas of law, which means the work for the client is centralised and coordinated. For more complex projects, this is a considerable advantage.’

‘The team I have worked with is very attentive to clients and highly skilled. I have had a good experience with Sandra Reed and Estefanía López.’

‘We are pleased with the availability of the team, the speed of their responses and the variety of experts at the firm.’

‘Estefanía López stands out for her commitment and fast responses.’

‘The multidisciplinary team at PBP is very well rounded and they can direct the client to the best lawyer at the firm for a specific subject without inconvenience. In other firms, often one lawyer covers many areas and the answers usually take time.’

‘They have a lighter and more personal touch when dealing with clients that other firms I have dealt with.’

Key clients

IBT Group

Gransolar – Total Eren

Duranports

DP World Posorja

JCDecaux

Doppelmayr Seilbahnen

Idom Consulting, Engineering, Architecture

Barry Callebaut Ecuador

Fresenius Medical Services Ecuador

Diana US

Work highlights

  • Advising Gransolar on the development of major infrastructure project to provide renewable energy to the Galapagos Islands.
  • Advising DP World Posorja on the real estate aspects of its expansion in Ecuador.
  • Advising Corporación Quiport on the construction and operation of the new Quito International Airport.

Robalino

Robalino Law remains a formidable presence in the market following its split from the Ferrere international network and establishment as an independent firm. The team is active across the full spectrum of real estate work, including a contentious practice which handles large-scale construction disputes, with a strong focus on contract issues and arbitrations. On the non-contentious side, the firm handles investment structuring, permits and regulatory issues, negotiations with creditors, and contractor relationships, among other issues. The agricultural sector has been key in the firm's recent work, with substantial deals involving the expansion of cocoa, shrimp and floriculture businesses, while its work on urban development projects has also continued in spite of the pandemic. Practice heads Ernesto Weisson and Daniel Robalino specialise in contracting and dispute resolution matters, respectively, while Paola Gachet and Martín Pallares remain active on the transactional front.

Practice head(s):

Ernesto Weisson; Daniel Robalino

Testimonials

‘A multi-disciplinary team with experience in many industries and areas of law.’

‘The team are highly experienced and knowledgeable.’

‘Very practical lawyers who are business focused and provide great support.’

‘They care about providing legal solutions, and consider and understand in detail the business and commercial needs of their clients, both in the medium and long term. The team offers a wide spectrum of knowledge and insights as it is made up of a diverse group of lawyers.’

Key clients

Inmovila

Lapanday

Castillo Construcciones

Sevilla & Martínez Ingenieros (Semaica)

Selina Hotels

Avícola Ecuatoriana (Avesca)

Colour Republic

Alkavat Holdings

AR Retail

CloudKitchen

Work highlights

  • Advised Inmovila on the structuring and financing of two of the biggest urban development projects in Guayaquil.
  • Advised Lapanday on the establishment of its operations in Ecuador, including the purchase of 600 hectares of banana plantations.
  • Advised Colour Republic on the real estate aspects of its rapid expansion in Ecuador.

Bustamante Fabara

Bustamante & Bustamante remains a strong player in the real estate field, taking on several new clients despite the poor market conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, such as Distribuidora Nacional de Automotores, alongside continued work for high-profile clients such as Harvard Management Company and Phoenix Tower International. The hospitality sector is a key one for the firm, with several major chains instructing the team in relation to lease disputes stemming from enforced closures, as well as handling acquisitions, disposals and new developments. José Rafael Bustamante Espinosa heads the practice alongside regulatory and hospitality specialist Juan Felipe Bustamante. At the associate level, Olinda Vera is recommended for property development and leasing work, particularly when it requires interaction with local government. Since publication, the firm has announced its merger with fellow local firm Fabara & Compañía to become Bustamante Fabara, effective as of November 2021.

Practice head(s):

José Rafael Bustamante Espinosa; Juan Felipe Bustamante

Key clients

Harvard Management Company

Phoenix Tower International Ecuador

Imbysca

Fideicomiso Piedras Blancas

Keracisa

Empresa Turística Equinoccio (Equinosa)

Distribuidora Nacional de Automotores

Work highlights

  • Advising Harvard Management Company on major forestry projects in Ecuador, involving more than 15,000 hectares of land and teak forest.
  • Advised Phoenix Tower International Ecuador on a prepaid lease project for over 1,400 real estate properties, in addition to the acquisition of 55 properties from Telefónica.
  • Continued to represent Equinosa in a case against the Pichincha Provincial Council, which expropriated land located in Ciudad Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World City).

Dentons Paz Horowitz

Dentons Paz Horowitz provides a full service in the real estate field, with a substantial regulatory practice that handles permits and registrations, the structuring of subdivisions, title issues and horizontal property declarations. On the transactional front, the firm is highly experienced in sale and purchase agreements, leasing deals and real estate transfers in an M&A context. Jorge Paz-Durini co-leads the team, and advises developers on the full life cycle of their projects from planning to post-sale, while senior associate and fellow co-head Verónica Mieles is frequently instructed by financial institutions with interests in the real estate space.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Paz Durini; Verónica Mieles

Testimonials

‘It has been essential to have team members who specialise in different areas of law in order to find innovative solutions. The firm was able to explain the big picture very well and go through each process in detail. This gave us confidence and peace of mind. The people at this firm are the best we have worked with.’

‘We are impressed with Jorge Paz’s professionalism, integrity and attention to detail. Jorge has the ability to see the big picture and all the risks involved in order to formulate complex strategies with excellent solutions. Jorge’s way of leading and delegating left us impressed. We also have to emphasise the role of Veronica Mieles, a very capable, committed and professional associate.’

‘Veronica Mieles has always show attention to detail and provided us with prompt advice and guidance.’

‘The team is impressive. They have dealt with my needs in an exemplary way.’

‘Veronica Mieles combines US know-how with understanding of local regulations.’

Key clients

Terra

Mafer

Cristobal Seaview

John Lewis

Andrea Papenbrok

Floresarahí

Natalia Jost

Lorena Sáenz

Santiago Peña Durini

La Tablita

Amereller Consultancy

Hospital Vozandes

Planta Industrial Lacec

Work highlights

  • Advised real estate developer Terra from the beginning of the structuring of a project to the sale and post-sale stage for a value of $3m.
  • Advised Cristobal Seaview on the purchase of a plot of land in the town of Puembo.
  • Advised food services group La Tablita on the purchase of several properties.

Lexvalor Abogados

Lexvalor Abogados is particularly notable for its work in the field of tenancy law and expropriation proceedings, handling negotiations, arbitration and litigation in such cases, in addition to having substantial expertise in the fields of property subdivision and condominium structuring. Another prominent facet of the firm's practice is advice on construction projects, including large-scale residential developments, as well as retail developments for high-profile clients such as Corporación Favorita. The team is led by Karla Villacís Echeverría, who is highly experienced in both contentious and non-contentious work, and Daniela Irigoyen Samaniego, who is particularly active on the financial side of real estate deals. Alfredo Peñaherrera Wright, Juan Francisco Almeida Granja and senior associate Marcelo Morabowen Borja are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Karla Villacis Echeverría; Daniela Irigoyen Samaniego

Testimonials

‘Lexvalor has a multidisciplinary team which means it can provide a complete perspective on the issues we consult the firm about.’

‘Excellent judgement and advice.’

‘It is a solid team, with good lawyers and a lot of experience.’

‘The team has extensive knowledge of the areas of law affecting our business. They have achieved excellent results in mediation and helped us to avoid future litigation.’

‘Without a doubt, they are an expert team in real estate issues. They know how to structure and implement projects and have detailed knowledge of the standards in this field. They are creative when structuring projects and seek the best solutions for all parties. They have extensive experience in this field.’

‘Daniela Irigoyen is very creative, efficient and practical. She has great experience and good judgement in assessing the risks in this business, and her voice is very important to shareholders and managers. Juan Francisco Almeida is also very good. The team always follow the law and share our values, which is very important to us.’

‘We receive a personal and direct service from the main partners. They are experts who give well-founded advice and are always looking for alternatives and solutions in the interests of our business.’

‘Karla Villacis and Marcelo Morabowen build strong, direct relationships with their clients. They make clients feel important, and it is pleasant and positive to interact with them. All have outstanding knowledge in their areas of expertise, and are always active and attentive to reducing the risk to our business.’

Key clients

Uribe y Schwarzkopf Ingenieros y Arquitectos

Consorcio Nobis – Pronobis

Fideicomiso Lomas de San Pedro

Fideval Administradora de Fondos y Fideicomisos

Corporación Favorita (Megamaxi, Supermaxi, Aki, Super Aki, Gran Aki and Akicito)

Trust María Isabel

Consultora Irigoyen & Asociados

Constructora Mendoza Peña

Work highlights

  • Advising Uribe & Schawarzkopf, the largest housing development construction company in the country, on several ongoing projects.
  • Advising Pronobis, a leading company in the Ecuadorian housing market, on several major real estate projects.
  • Advising Corporación Favorita, the largest retail company in Ecuador, on the construction of supermarkets and mini malls throughout Ecuador.

CorralRosales

CorralRosales is home to a real estate team which handles acquisition, sale and lease transactions, alongside tax and trusts work and dispute resolution. Santiago Palacios heads the practice, while Ramón  Paz y Miño is a notable figure from the associate ranks.

Practice head(s):

Santiago Palacios

Testimonials

‘They know the law well and always make suggestions that benefit the client.’

‘It is like working with someone inside our company, keeping our interests in mind at all times.’

Fabara & Compañía

Maria Rosa Fabara Vera heads the real estate team at Fabara & Compañía, which frequently collaborates with other departments to provide a wide range of real estate services, including advising on the construction of commercial premises, acquisitions of both single properties and portfolios, and leasing and tenancy agreements. Notable figures from the team include associates José Antonio Fabara, who is active in the structuring of real estate transactions, and Andrés Becdach, who focuses on transactional work. Since publication, the firm has announced a tie-up with fellow local heavyweight, Bustamante & Bustamante, becoming Bustamante Fabara as of November 2021.

Practice head(s):

Maria Rose Fabara Vera

Testimonials

‘They provide support and advice not only on the legal procedures but also on preventing problems. The team stand out for their diligence, promptness and responsiveness.’

‘Excellent advice and support throughout the process. Always available and ready to seek immediate solutions to problems, taking care to comply with deadlines and requirements of all the parties.’

‘They are always willing to look for alternatives and solutions.’

Key clients

Pepsico Alimentos Ecuador

Pharmabrand

Baguette

Munir Abedrabbo (Corpmunab, Cobra Facil Fabracilisa)

Textiles El Rayo

Textiles Ecuador

International Shipping and Storage

Geopromotores

B Braun Medical

Opticas GMO

Pfizer

C Stainweg (Ecuador)

Tiendad Industriales Asociados (TIA)

Work highlights

  • Advised Pepsico Alimentos Ecuador on the construction of a plant and warehouse for the bottling and production of drinks.
  • Advised Farmalatina on the acquisition of real estate.
  • Advised Baguette on the drafting of leases and resolution of conflicts with tenants.

Heka Law Firm

Heka Law Firm acts for a wide range of clients in the real estate space, including large financial institutions such as Banco Pichincha, design and construction companies such as Rama Estudio, and real estate companies such as Constructores Positivos. The firm is frequently instructed in relation to sale and purchase agreements, mortgage structuring and regulatory advice. Transactional specialist Mauricio Subía heads the team alongside Santiago Albán, who primarily advises clients in the financial sector. The firm saw the arrival of two new partners in 2020, with Cristina Viteri joining from the State Attorney General's Office in January, and Juan Andrés Gortaire joining from Cordero Moreno Corral in July.

Practice head(s):

Mauricio Subia; Santiago Alban

Testimonials

‘It is a young firm that is up to date with the realities of the country and the city. They support us in our projects but also create opportunities for us. They are very practical in how they handle cases and if they require support from other lawyers, they do not hesitate to involve them. This gives us the peace of mind that we are in good hands.’

‘Santiago Alban is a very well-prepared and efficient lawyer. He is always up to date on the firm’s cases and on who is following up and leading the advice.’

‘Their support is highly personalised and their follow up on cases is exceptional.’

‘Santiago Alban’s team is very professional and provides clear advice.’

‘They have the experience, knowledge and immediate ability to solve any of their client’s problems, show transparency and ethics in their decision-making, and provide a comprehensive legal service.’

‘I have had the opportunity to work with Santiago Alban, who is an expert in real estate and business matters. Santiago has provided us with a personalised service: he provides prompt responses and always seeks out a resolution to any conflict. An agile service like this isn’t found at many firms. His knowledge and experience make it possible to advise his  clients in an appropriate and responsible way on their needs.’

‘Excellent client care and in-depth knowledge of real estate law. We have tried many law firms for real estate matters and our best experience has been with Santiago Alban and his team.’

‘Santiago Alban provides prompt and personal advice. He anticipates developments and acts quickly to avoid problems.’

Key clients

Cámara de la Construcción de Cuenca

Constructores Positivos

Fortaltriun

Monteolivo

Zion Trust and Funds Management

Proyectos Unidos Empresariales (Prounem)

Ramaestudio

Mutualista Pichincha

Banco Pichincha

Marcelo Jaramillo

Distribuidora El Mirador (Dismirador)

Francisco Espinosa

Work highlights

  • Acted for Fortaltriun in seeking the removal of a prohibition on the development of land the company owns in the suburbs of Quito.
  • Carried out due diligence of its real estate for Monteolivo.
  • Advising Proyectos Unidos Empresariales (Prounem) on the structuring of a logistics project.

Pino Elizalde Abogados

Jorge Cedeño heads the real estate team at Pino Elizalde Abogados, which focuses on the structuring of real estate and construction projects, providing a range of regulatory, contractual, financing and tax advice. The firm is also active in disputes work, particularly concerning expropriation proceedings, with clients frequently instructing the team in actions against local municipalities in such cases. Other key names within the practice include Daniel Pino and Jaime Arosemena.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Cedeño

Testimonials

‘Excellent and friendly client service. Very good attention to the details and particulars of a transaction. Good coordination between the team members at all times.’

‘Jorge Cedeño and Daniel Pino provided an excellent service.’

‘They have a group of experts who can cover all areas of complex operations and demonstrate good teamwork.’

‘Daniel Pino and Jaime Arosemena are experts in their area of law. They also have a very efficient team of associates.’

Key clients

Inmobiliaria Open House (IOH)

Fideicomiso Delagro

Biosuper

Sandra Torres

Alphacell

Edward Harding

Denisse Cordner

Work highlights

  • Representing a group of shareholders of Inmobiliaria Open House (IOH), which is developing a $70m project in the most significant urban area in Ecuador.
  • Advising Fideicomiso Delagro on a real estate development project with a value estimated at $5m.
  • Assisted Biosuper in the sale of a shrimp farm valued at $5m.

Sempértegui Abogados

Sempértegui Abogados focuses primarily on real estate matters involving municipal authorities, advising both developers and municipalities in such cases. Notable recent work includes practice head Marcelo Dávila's advice to the municipality of Machala in relation to the structuring of a real estate project involving 1,500 housing units. Gabriela Salazar is particularly recommended for matters which overlap with the energy sector, while Santiago Salazar focuses on issues of procedural law.

Practice head(s):

Marcelo Dávila

Testimonials

‘Expertise in public purchasing, understanding of the client’s business, ability to resolve issues and a focus on the interests of the client.’

‘A multidisciplinary team that provides a prompt and personalised service when required and offers constant support.’

Key clients

ISA

Steellinc

Cámara de la Pequeña Industria de Pichincha

Grupo Merco Colombia

Enrique David Zárate González

David Mauricio Romo Rodríguez

Edificio Lafayette

Weatherford South America

Ichthion

Gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado Municipal de Machala

Roche Dia

Camberley Development (previously Murat Group)

César Enrique Wong

Vicente Ocampo Jaramillo

Ecuador’s Government

KCS Ecuador

Promont

Work highlights

  • Advising the municipality of Machala on the legal structuring of a real estate project.
  • Advising Steelinc on adapting the use of land.
  • Acted for Camberley Development in a protection action against the local municipality ordering the compensation of the client’s right to its property.

Apolo Abogados

Apolo Abogados is most notable for its presence in the aquaculture space, advising several prominent aquaculture companies on their land usage, leasing agreements and dealings with government authorities. The firm also defends clients in cases where the authorities seek revocation of concessions and permits, including the proposed termination of leasing agreements. José Gabriel Apolo heads the team, which also advises clients in the agricultural sector, while Andrés Suárez is another key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

Jose Gabriel Apolo

Testimonials

‘They are very agile and have the necessary contacts to be able to obtain the legal documents required efficiently.’

‘Jose Gabriel Apolo has a thorough knowledge of the law and acts quickly to obtain the necessary information.’

Key clients

Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila (IPSP)

Sabanetacorp

Camaronera De La Costa Oeste (Costaoeste)

Camorena Lynch (Camarlynch)

Operadora y Procesadora De Productos Marinos (Omarsa)

Cofimar

Calademar (Grupo Nirsa)

Aqua-Gen (Grupo Burgos)

Aqualitoral Acuicola del Litoral

Richcompany (Grupo Quirola)

Work highlights

  • Obtaining authorisation for the construction of a shrimp farm and the exercise of aquaculture activities on behalf of Industrial Pesquera Santa Priscila (IPSP).
  • Advised Sabanetacorp on the unification of lots to create a single lot for the operation of its private tuna port.
  • Advised Aqua-Gen on the purchase and sale of real estate for the structural modification of its land.

Romero Arteta Ponce

Romero Arteta Ponce handles a range of notable projects for its clients, including well-known international organisations such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which practice head Gustavo Romero advised on its purchase of land for the construction of a temple, and Siemens Energy, which the team advised in relation to the Metro de Quito project. Other notable figures within the practice include Diego Romero, whose contentious practice makes him a key contact for real estate disputes, and Amparo Romero, who has a strong transactional practice.

Practice head(s):

Gustavo Romero

Testimonials

‘Quick and helpful responses that give clients confidence.’

‘My experience with Diego Romero has been excellent. He responds quickly to all my requests.’

‘The senior lawyers personally handle clients’ cases.’

‘Gustavo Romero and Diego Romero stand out for their professional approach, ability to stay up to date and innovation.’

Key clients

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Siemens Mobility

Fabrica Bios

Produbanco

Geopromotores

Swiss Embassy

Casabaca

Work highlights

  • Advised the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the expropriation of land in Guayaquil and the acquisition of real estate throughout Ecuador, including the purchase of land for the construction of a temple.
  • Advised Siemens Mobility on the management of its real estate portfolio in Ecuador and on its subcontract for the construction of the Metro de Quito.
  • Advised Fabrica Bios on the purchase of real estate in Ecuador as part of its expansion into the Ecuadorian market.