Real estate in Ireland
A&L Goodbody advises on matters at the forefront of the Irish commercial property market, including the purchase and sale of distressed assets and the acquisition or refinancing of Nama loans, as well as substantial residential property sales. Practice head Mairead Sherlock advised new client RTÉ on the sale of prime residential development land to Cairn Homes for €107.5m, and also acted for Indego and Nama on the disposal of one Dublin’s largest shopping centres for a value of €250m. Other key team members are John Williams, Paul Diggin, Stephen O’Riordan, Niamh O’Sullivan and Ger O’Toole. Andrew Ion made partner in May 2018.
Arthur Cox’s ‘depth of experience’ ensures that the firm is involved in the most significant commercial property transactions and development projects in the country. Among the many standout transactions, Mark Barr and Deirdre Barrett, who ‘is proactive and will always go the extra mile’, advised investor Kennedy Wilson on the acquisition of The Grange, a partially completed apartment complex. Practice head Kenneth Egan and Simon Hannigan are other key team members. Deirdre Sheehan was promoted to partner in March 2018.
Apart from its expertise in landlord and tenant work, Eversheds Sutherland also has strength in the residential development sector, with major clients such as Cairn Homes. In one recent example, practice head Joe Stanley acted for McGarrell Reilly on the sale of four residential development sites to Glenveagh Homes. Terry O’Malley and Marie O’Riordan received partner promotions. Other names to note are managing partner Alan Murphy and Cian MacGinley.
Mason Hayes & Curran’s ‘level of service is impeccable, highlighted by the team's quick responsiveness, level of professionalism and ability to complete transactions within tight deadlines’. The team acts for a mix of clients comprising financial institutions, property investors, retailers and international companies. The ‘impressive’ Vanessa Byrne is advising a financial service provider on the sale of a €2.4bn residential loan portfolio, while Michael Doran acted for new client Hibernia REIT on the sale of a fully let office building to Credit Suisse. Following Kevin Hoy’s appointment as chair of the firm, Byrne and Doran jointly lead the practice. Tom Davy and associates Áine Quigley and Laura Cullivan are all recommended.
Matheson's ‘easily accessible’ and ‘very approachable’ team is ‘very well versed in real estate trends in this market’, thereby making its lawyers the advisers of choice for international and Irish financial institutions, both as lenders and private equity investors. Brian Doran leads the practice; he and Leonie Dunne recently advised three lenders regarding the provision of finance, while Peter McKeever acted for Danske Bank on the sale of a portfolio of performing residential mortgage loans. Sally Anne Stone is ‘a pleasure to work with on any real estate project’ and has 'exceptional knowledge of pertinent legal issues'; she is advising new client U+I on its bid to redevelop land around an old brewery site in conjunction with Diageo to create a significant amount of commercial, retail, residential and leisure space.
McCann FitzGerald’s ‘expertise in commercial property and construction law is second to none’, as is ‘the quality of service and care provided by the partners’, which ‘is of the highest standard and quality’. Practice head Shane Fahy has particular expertise in advising institutional investors; in one example, he assisted Iput with the lease of a landmark new development to AIB. Other recent mandates include Jim Murphy advising the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland on a potential office move, and Richard Leonard acting for the sellers of several large hotels in cities across Ireland. Other key team members are Jennifer Halpin, Donal O’Raghallaigh and Shane Sweeney.
William Fry’s team acts for a prominent client base comprising major private equity funds and real estate investment trusts, including Lisa McCarthy advising Hines and King Street Capital Management on the pre-lets currently under construction at Cherrywood’s new town centre. Andrew Muckian acted for Hammerson on the €625m refinancing of Dundrum Town Centre with a consortium of lenders, and Karen Sheil acted for Kennedy Wilson on the reorganisation and refinancing of several Dublin-based properties. Edward Spain leads the team.
Full-service firm Beauchamps grew stronger with the hire of new partner Anna Doyle from William Fry in September 2018 and the partner promotion of Jacinta Niland. The team was very active on the social housing and student accommodation front, where it works with developers, approved housing bodies, local authorities and funders. In a recent example, practice head Aidan Marsh advised Nama subsidiary Narps and approved housing bodies on the delivery of social housing, particularly on questions of acquisition and leasing. The team also advised investment company Kennedy Wilson on the sale, financing and acquisition of properties. Maitiú Ó Dónaill, chairperson Imelda Reynolds and Gerry Gallen are also key team members.
The ‘hugely responsive’ Byrne Wallace put together a ‘very strong and experienced real estate team’, which stands out due to its ‘speed of response and commerciality’. In addition to its experience in terms of residential developments, the team is noted for its asset management practice, with practice head Michael Walsh acting for Hammerson and Allianz Real Estate, and senior associate Michelle McVeigh advising GL Ireland Icav on asset management in relation to its shopping centre portfolio. Recently promoted partner Derville White is ‘extremely diligent and responsible’, while ‘top-class property lawyer’ Alison O’Sullivan is ‘unflappable’. Senior assistant Justine Carty is also recommended.
Dillon Eustace’s ‘highly engaged’ team has expertise in a broad range of commercial property matters, including landlord and tenant issues, loan book acquisition, and the sale and purchase of commercial, investment and residential properties. Recent work highlights include Louise Wright acting for SW3 Capital and Tristan Capital Partners on the site acquisition, forward funding, development and letting strategy agreement for the Exo building, Dublin’s largest office building, as well as on the acquisition of three apartment blocks. Kelly O’Hara leads the practice and other key figures include name partner Paul Eustace and senior associate Brendan Cunnane, who arrived from Nama in January 2018 to strengthen the team.
Eugene F. Collins’ clients in the hotel and hospitality sectors keep the firm busy, with Mark Walsh and Kathi Ó Riain advising Tifco on Project Pillow, which concerned the acquisition of the Travelodge chain of hotels in Ireland and Northern Ireland. In the retail sector, the team acts for the likes of TK Maxx, Hotel Chocolat and Moss Bros, and in the banking sector it advises financial institutions such as AIB and Goldman Sachs on commercial property financing. Sean Twomey is the practice head.
Maples Group is very strong on landlord and tenant matters, where practice head Diarmuid Mawe is assisting Multi Ireland on all such matters concerning the Blanchardstown Centre. The team also acts for domestic and international investors such as Green Reit and Hines on acquisitions as well as the management of asset and loan portfolios; in a relevant transaction, Mawe acted for Doric on its acquisition of a refurbished office in Dublin. Craig Kenny and consultant Tom O’Connor are also key members of the team.
Ronan Daly Jermyn’s team was bolstered by the arrival of Simon Lynch from Nama and Patrick Dorgan from Coakley Moloney Solicitors, while Brian O’Halloran was promoted to partner. The team impresses with its ‘wide range of competencies’, especially in the hospitality space, where Dublin-based ‘standout solicitor’ Evin McCarthy advised on the sale of the Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Resort, and advised a Nama-appointed statutory receiver on the sale of the five-star Carton House Hotel in Kildare. Practice head John Dwyer and Margaret Ring, who exhibits ‘thoroughness and responsiveness’, acted for John Cleary Developments on the sale of the multi-use Capitol Development to German real estate investment firm Real IS. Peter McGarvey and Patrick Ahern are the other names to note.
Hayes Solicitors is active in the logistics and telecoms space, but retail is where the firm demonstrates particular strength, advising multinational retailers such as anchor client Primark on its Irish property portfolio. In another instruction, ‘consistently excellent’ practice head Jackie Buckley assisted Laura Ashley with the negotiation of a 20-year lease for its new flagship store in Cork. The team also advised on a number of receiver sales. Tomás Nyhan made partner in May 2018. Rachel Niall left for the Chief State Solicitor's Office.
Led by Clair Cassidy, the real estate team at LK Shields Solicitors regularly acts alongside the corporate department, dealing with the real estate elements of transactions; for example, John Campbell advised key client InfraVia Capital on the acquisition of Mater Private. The team was also very active in the nursing home care sector, where it advised CareChoice on the acquisition of two nursing homes and a primary care centre.
The ‘experienced’ team at McDowell Purcell is able to work ‘effectively and efficiently to tight timelines’ for a variety of clients, including banks, funds, developers and investors. Apart from providing advice on residential, mixed-use and commercial developments, the team around ‘pragmatic’ and ‘knowledgeable’ name partner Breen Purcell and Thomas O’Malley has been very active in the social housing sector, acting for local authorities and housing bodies.
Cork-based O'Flynn Exhams provides advice to a range of domestic and multinational clients on commercial property, including several clients in the retail space. Practice head Micheál O Mulláin advised ILC Dover and Forcepoint International on commercial leases and agreements for leases, and also acted for LivingHealth Clinic on the sale of a large-scale primary care centre in Cork. Eamonn Muldoon advised key client Irish Water on the lease of its headquarters and other regional offices, among other matters. Des Lynch was promoted to partner.
‘Always willing to go the extra mile for the client’, Philip Lee’s ‘highly skilled’ team is ‘well equipped for dealing with high-value commercial banking transactions involving security over property, as well as diligently managing smaller property acquisitions’. The ‘fully committed’ John O’Donoghue leads the practice; his recent highlights include acting for Carysfort Capital on the acquisition of a building comprising 120 apartments, a restaurant and café for €101m. Associate John Somers is ‘exceptional’.
While Walkers focuses on advising lenders on the financing of residential property acquisitions, it also acted for a major player in the development market on its acquisition of a site for residential development, and advised on the acquisition of a distressed loan portfolio. Of counsel Jody Toner ‘is an impressively knowledgeable lawyer in real estate’ and impresses with his ‘aptitude for explaining complex legal issues to non-legal professionals in a clear and concise manner’. Practice head Rachel Rodgers ‘is extremely approachable’ and ‘always finds time to put her clients first’.
Whitney Moore demonstrates particular strength in the social housing space, where Michael Carney (who is 'always present and quick to reply') acted for the Housing Agency on the acquisition of residential property portfolios and onward sales to several approved housing bodies, and also advised local authorities such as Fingal County Council. Elsewhere, practice head Rory McDonald advised on receiver sales and assisted Five Guys Ireland with the pre-letting of a unit at a shopping centre redevelopment, while newly promoted partner Barry Heslin advised on the sale of various commercial and residential properties. Emma Heron also made partner, and Cathy McFadden joined as senior associate from Orpen Franks.
Gore & Grimes
Gore & Grimes’ clients include investors, developers, corporate and public bodies, financial institutions and private clients. The team provides advice on the acquisition and disposal of commercial properties and development sites, as well as on landlord and tenant matters including leases. Recent highlights include practice head Keith McConnell and newly promoted partner Sally Alford advising a local client on its retail portfolio, comprising the extension and redevelopment of its flagship facility as well as the acquisition of an adjoining site.
Holmes O'Malley Sexton
Holmes O'Malley Sexton advises clients in the healthcare, nursing home, retail, hospitality and office sectors on the acquisition, disposal and funding of properties. Limerick-based practice head Sandra Egan and newly promoted partner Lorraine Power acted for Yew Grove Reit, carrying out property due diligence and assisting the client with the acquisition of well-tenanted and strategically placed commercial properties across Ireland. The team also advised on the sale of a primary care centre in County Kerry.
JW O'Donovan Solicitors
Cork-based JW O'Donovan Solicitors provides a ‘quite simply superb’ quality of service. Practice head Jerome O'Sullivan is particularly well known for acting for the owners of several major shopping centres and retail parks with respect to leasing and development activities, but also the sale of shopping centre portfolios. Patrick Bradley was highly active in the housing sector, acting for a client on the acquisition of numerous residential properties to be made available for social housing. Ciara McDonnell is another key team member.
At Lavelle Partners, dual qualified (Ireland/England and Wales) practice head Nicola Walsh's caseload included advising on a residential development portfolio sale, debt refinancing and a number of commercial acquisitions. The team also has expertise in commercial leases. Greg Flanagan joined as a senior associate in June 2018 from Pearse Mehigan & Company and brings a mixture of commercial and residential property experience.
Reddy Charlton Solicitors ‘provides a competent service in a friendly and professional manner’, and is known for landlord and tenant work; in a recent example, Brendan Sharkey acted for a firm of UK retailers on the leasing of a commercial property for a sizeable sum. The team also acted on the sale of commercial properties and property portfolios. The ‘excellent’ Tom Marren leads the team, and Roisin Bennett is another key team member.