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Index of tables

  1. Commercial property: general
  2. Commercial property: development
  3. Commercial property: hotels and leisure
  4. Commercial property: investment
  5. Commercial property: retail
  6. Leading individuals
  7. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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At Ashurst, the ‘service level for high value acquisition and development work is excellent’ and 2016 saw the team leverage off the firm’s strong international presence to advise on a range of high-value transactions. David Jones, who heads up the real estate capital markets group, advised on a number of deals emanating from North America, including acting for key client Oxford Properties on the £198m joint venture acquisition (with RLG Real Estate) of 48-50 New Bond Street from Scottish Widows. The team was also busy on various mandates from the Asia-Pacific region, including advising Poly Real Estate on the £146m structured acquisition of 5 Fleet Place from ADIA. In the development sub-sector, planning specialist Trevor Goode and senior associate Tim Regis (whose ‘knowledge is second to none’), acted for Greenland Group on the redevelopment of the Spire in London’s Canary Wharf; and global practice head Hugh Lumby continued to advise Westfield on phase 2 of the Westfield London development in White City. In another retail-related development scheme, the ‘very good’ Richard Vernon, who leads the London team, assisted Stanhope with the redevelopment of land at Elwick Road, Ashford. The practice’s hospitality client base includes the likes of the Ritz Hotel, and one recent mandate saw head of development Melanie Jordan advise The Berkeley Group on the City Forum regeneration at 250 City Road, which includes a significant hotel site. In other highlights, the team acted on one of the largest sale and leasebacks of the last few years, with Sarah Sivyour and Henry Moss assisting BP with the £300m sale and leaseback of its Sunbury office campus. The practice was weakened on the investment side by the loss of both Darren Rogers and Patrick Williams to Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP is ‘exceptionally good on most performance criteria’ and as a result is regularly instructed on the largest transactions in the UK market; in 2016 head of practice Chris de Pury acted for CC Land Holdings on its £1.15bn acquisition of the Jersey company that owns 122 Leadenhall Street from a joint venture between The British Land Company and Oxford Properties; and in another example of cross-border investment work, de Pury and Adam Bogdanor assisted China Life and Brookfield with the £346m acquisition of the corporate entity that owns Aldgate Tower from a privately controlled Irish developer and investor. On the development side, the team saw involvement in some of the largest new public sector housing development schemes, including Andrew Yates’ advice to the Homes and Communities Agency on the delivery of a 10,000-home new community at Northstowe, outside Cambridge. In the private sector space (where clients include Canary Wharf and Land Securities), Samant Narula continued to advise Hermes Investment Management on its Paradise Circus development in Birmingham. The practice is particularly recommended for its hospitality work, with department head Karen Friebe a ‘standout for hotel management agreements for boutique hotels’. Examples of hospitality work include Friebe acting for Qatari Diar on the redevelopment of the old American Embassy site in Grosvenor Square London into a luxury hotel, and Claire Milton assisting Derwent London with the sale of 120-134 Tottenham Court Road, which comprises a 330-room hotel, as well as retail and restaurant floor-space. Other key figures are James Knox, who leads on retail work for clients such as Tesco and Westfield Shopping Towns, and chairman Robert MacGregor.

FIRMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Maples Teesdale

The only property law firm you’ll ever need. As commercial property experts, Maples Teesdale advise on the acquisition, management and disposal of investment and occupational properties, joint ventures, secured finance transactions, planning issues and development projects including site assembly and constraints mitigation, lettings and all other aspects of landlord and tenant law and portfolio management.

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CMS’s tie-up with Nabarro and Olswang on 1st May 2017 has resulted in a highly significant real estate offering, that is led by the ‘experienced and very calm’, Ciaran Carvalho. The new practice now has access to the full spectrum of clients, including UK REITs such as Land Securities and Hammerson, institutional bodies such as Standard Life Investments and M&G Real Estate, and foreign investors such as Beijing Capital Development Holdings and SRE Group. Key players on the investment side include ‘intelligent and reliable’ investment head Edward Benzecry, who assisted Aberdeen UK Property Fund with the sale of 10 Hammersmith Grove, London, to Brockton Capital; ‘pragmatic and incisive advisorSimon Staite, who advised Beijing Capital Development Holdings on its £200m purchase of 30 Crown Place in the City of London; and Jonathan Lewis. In the development sub-sector, names to note include ‘sensible and approachable’ UK-head Mark Heighton; Kevin Stimpson, who is assisting joint venture partners Hammerson and Standard Life on the £4bn regeneration of Brent Cross; and the ‘very diligent and commercialClare Thomas. The new practice services a plethora of hospitality clients, including the likes of Hyatt and The Savoy, and has considerable experience in big ticket transactional mandates; in one recent example global head of hotels and leisure Thomas Page acted for Cranefield on its acquisition of DoubleTree by Hilton Tower of London from Blackstone. In the retail space, there is particular strength on the landlord side, where shopping centre specialist Martyn Needham, is ‘great to work with on transactions’; the practice also acts for tenants such as Toys "R" Us and Sports Direct. Helen Johnson is the main contact for retail work.

Clifford Chance’s ‘involvement applies a high quality stamp on transactions which is recognized across borders’; during 2016 the team was busy on a high volume of corporate deals involving real estate entities. In the self-storage sector, Catherine Cook acted for Storage Mart on its £113m acquisition of Big Box Self Storage; while in the housing sector global practice co-head Jonathan Solomon, who has a ‘wealth of relevant industry knowledge’, assisted L&Q with its £505m acquisition of Gallagher Estates. Other key players for investment work include ‘superb’ global practice co-head Adrian Levy, who is ‘good at finding solutions to problems’; and Mark Payne, who is a ‘seasoned, calm and pragmatic adviser on large deals’. The practice was also active in the development sub-sector, where specialisms include large-scale regeneration projects, mixed-use schemes and over-station developments. Solomon is representing Native Land on its $1bn regeneration project at Bankside, and Angela Kearns advised The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels on the acquisition of Grosvenor’s entire 50% interest in their joint venture to deliver a mixed use development at 1-5 Grosvenor Place, London. The hospitality sector is another strength and the practice is invariably ‘used for the largest and most complicated projects in the industry’. Both Alis Pay and Jane Cheong Tung Sing are singled out for their ‘expert, detailed knowledge’, particularly in relation to hotel and leisure facility financings. Payne and ‘industrious’ senior associate Ian Painter acted for a high-net-worth individual and restaurateur on the acquisition of 74 Charlotte Street, to include a newly developed restaurant unit.

Leader of the packHerbert Smith Freehills LLPdeals with multiple jurisdictions easily with one single reporting line’, and the team is regularly instructed on significant cross-border mandates; recent examples include Richard Forsdyke acting for Oxford Properties on the sale of its 50% stake in the Leadenhall Building to CC Land, and ‘excellent practical advisorJeremy Walden assisting Shaw Holdings with its £270m acquisition of 88 Wood Street from Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen. The practice enjoys a strong relationship with FTSE REITs such as The British Land Company and Hammerson, and head of practice Donald Rowlands, who is ‘excellent at taking clients through complicated transactions’, acted for the latter on the £335m sale of its 50% stake in the Grand Central shopping centre in Birmingham. Another name to note on the investment side is Julian Pollock, who co-heads the investment team with Walden. In the development sub-sector, the practice is ‘particularly good on pre-letting buildings that are off-plan or under construction’. Infrastructure-related development work is another area of strength, and Nick Turner, ‘who is rapidly becoming top-class’, is advising on numerous over-station developments. In other work Forsdyke continued to handle a number of key development mandates, including acting for Almacantar on the redevelopment of Marble Arch Place, and assisting Anschutz Entertainment Group with the transformation of the Millennium Dome and surrounding 40 acres on Greenwich Peninsula into the O2 Arena and entertainment district. The practice’s retail and hospitality expertise is heavily landlord/owner oriented. Additional key figures include regional managing partner Ian Cox and ‘clear advisorDavid Rosen.

In 2016, Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘pro-active, solution-based’ practice secured first-time panel appointments with The British Land Company and U+I Group, complementing a diverse client base that takes in institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds, private equity houses, and overseas family wealth. The practice also enjoyed a number of significant investment deals across asset types such as student housing and high street retail; one standout mandate saw the ‘technically brilliantSian Owles advise Queensland Investment Corporation on the £410m sale of its 50% interest in Merry Hill Shopping Centre in Dudley to Intu Properties. In other investment highlights, newly appointed UK-head Daniel Norris, who is ‘exceptional on portfolio deals’, advised Mapletree on the acquisition of 23 student housing blocks; and the ‘committed and very smartDion Panambalana and Andrew Flemming assisted U+I Group with its new 50:50 joint venture platform with an affiliate of Colony NorthStar. In the development sub-sector, ‘standout performerNicholas Roberts advised Argent Related on securing its role as development partner in the multibillion-pound Brent Cross South regeneration scheme; and Norris acted for key client M&G Real Estate on its equity funding of a major development at Three Snowhill in Birmingham city centre. In other highlights, Panambalana assisted Land Securities with asset management for both retail and hospitality assets; and global practice head Jackie Newstead, who ‘consistently delivers’, advised Hermes on the lettings and proposed redevelopment of a shopping centre at Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells. Gill McGreevy was also active on various landlord-side retail mandates. The practice also has a number of recommended lawyers below partner level, including newly promoted counsel Christopher Somorjay; senior associate Stella Bliss, who has ‘excellent commercial sense’; and senior associate Anthony Newton, who is a ‘leader in the student accommodation field’.

Addleshaw Goddard has ‘in-depth knowledge of the UK real estate market, especially in relation to commercial buildings’, and the team continues to handle various deals for foreign investors seeking to acquire office space. In one example, practice head Leona Ahmed, who ‘impresses with her interpersonal skills and responsiveness to queries’, advised Lembaga Tabung Haji on the acquisition of an office building in Windsor, as well as an asset at 129 Wilton Road in London. The team also has expertise in handling a range of other asset types such as pubs and residential, and in one highlight Lee Sheldon is acting for Dandara Group on one of the UK’s largest single build-to-rent development schemes in the private rental sector. In the hotels space, finance specialist James Salford has ‘good links with hotel brands’ such as Travelodge Group Companies. Another key figure is Andrew Martin, whose ‘over-arching commercial and practical approach to problem solving sets him apart from his peers’. Martin is assisting Surrey Heath Borough Council with the acquisition of the units in a Jersey Property Unit Trust which hold the legal and beneficial title to Camberley Town Centre from Capital & Regional. The practice is currently enjoying a strong period of growth; besides securing additional resources by way of the firm’s recent merger with HBJ, it also made a number of key hires, including Iain Hindhaugh from Jones Day, and William Boss, Luke Harvey, Michael Scott, and Simon Tager, all from King & Wood Mallesons.

DLA Piper showed its intentions for this practice area with the hire of 27 lawyers, including William Naunton and Bryan Pickup, from King & Wood Malleson. ‘Naunton and his team provide a wonderfully commercial, user friendly approach to the law’, with George Burrha described by one client as ‘one of the best property lawyers in the business’. In line with this expansion, the practice handled one of the UK’s largest investment mandates, with corporate specialist Robert Salter and legal director Jonathan Whiteford acting for Oxford Properties on its £563m sale of the Green Park business park to Singapore-based Mapletree Investments. In another significant investment mandate, ‘cerebral’ London practice head Richard Wilkinson, who ‘goes the extra mile to understand the specific industry sector relevant to the deal’, represented Deutsche Fonds Holding on the real estate aspects of the £155m sale of 20 Moorgate to SEA Holdings. The team’s development work has a strong regional focus, and in one example, Liverpool-based Mark Beardwood is advising Cheshire West and Chester Council in connection with the Chester Northgate town centre regeneration programme. In London, Paul Jayson is acting for WeWork on the development and pre-letting obligations of its portfolio of prime city office buildings. The hotel-and-leisure and retail offerings are led from the Leeds office by Matthew Duncombe and Valerie Mather, respectively. Duncombe acted on behalf of Marriott International on various hotel franchise deals, while Mather continued to service the practice’s strong portfolio of retailers, which includes BHS, Dixons Carphone and JD Sports Fashion. Richard Hopkinson-Woolley departed for Simmons & Simmons.

Industry knowledge is second to none’ at Dentons, and the team’s ‘considerable strength in depth’ was further enhanced by a number of key hires during 2016, including Rob Thompson, Rupert Dowdell, Lewis Myers, Simon Tweedle, and Jayne Schnider from Irwin Mitchell, and corporate real estate specialist Jonathan Cantor who joined from Nabarro. Thompson and Myers, who have particular expertise in investment work, advised Secure Income REIT on the £196m acquisition of a portfolio of 55 hotels held in Jersey Unit Trusts; and in another key investment deal, practice co-head Richard Budge advised Topland Group on the sale of the Cyrus property portfolio to Fortress Investment Group for in excess of £400m. Budge also handles development work and is singled out for his ‘first class experience of Local Asset Backed Vehicles and public/private partnerships’; he is advising HOOPP/ Verdion on a £400m logistics development project on a 337-acre greenfield site located just south of Doncaster. Another name to note is practice co-head Virginia Glastonbury, whose ongoing work includes handling a substantial volume of retail instructions for Network Rail, including the Paddington Lawn retail and dining hub at Paddington station. Besides landlord-side retail work, the practice also has a strong tenant-side client base including the likes of John Lewis and Sainsbury’s; Miriam Best acted for the latter on the sale of its pharmacy business to Celesio. Hospitality and leisure is another strength, where key players include US qualified practice head Mark Daliere; the ‘highly respectedSimon Masri; and Babette Märzheuser-Wood, who ‘knows the franchise world inside out’. The ‘top qualityMatthew Tinger and Masri advised the Al Habtoor Group on the corporate acquisition of the Hilton London Wembley from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP specialises in major institutional, inward investor and REIT mandates, and the team is also experienced in handling global level headquarters work for the likes of Facebook and KPMG. Recent investment highlights include Lee Jackson advising a client of TH Real Estate on the sale of the units in a Jersey Property Unit Trust that owned the Peak building (in Victoria) to a private middle eastern investor, and Richard Lampert acting for Scottish Widows on the £360m disposal of a significant proportion of its Mayfair block. In a standout corporate deal, practice head Bruce Dear advised Electricity Pension Scheme on the real estate aspects of its £1.47bn merger with the CBRE UK Property Fund. Dear was also active in the development sub-sector, where he assisted Legal and General Capital Investments with its £350m joint venture investment into the Newcastle Science Central urban regeneration scheme. In another example of development work, Nicholas Bartlett advised London & Continental Railways on its joint venture redevelopment of the Mayfield site in central Manchester; this project is Europe’s largest urban regeneration scheme. The practice’s ‘hugely client focused and commercial’ hospitality-and-leisure team is led by Leeds-based Susan Samuel, who advises on a range of real estate products including casinos, hotels, leisure complexes, and health and fitness facilities; Samuel acted for Kentucky Fried Chicken on the refranchising of 160 KFC stores. Manchester-based James Batham is in charge of retail, where clients include Harrods and Marks and Spencer.

Jones Day’s ‘proactive’ team provides ‘tailored and appropriate advice’ to a range of global real estate players, including Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and Greystar Real Estate Partners; in one standout matter, David Smith advised Goldman Sachs on the formation of a student-housing joint venture with Wellcome Trust to be known as Vero Group. Global practice head David Roberts is ‘experienced and pragmatic’ and has particular experience in acting for UK REITs; as well as advising The British Land Company on the acquisition of a block of shops in the centre of Plymouth, he also assisted LondonMetric with the acquisition, development and letting of a one million ft² distribution centre in Thrapston. Corporate specialist Alistair Grant and Alex Millar handled transactions for a number of foreign investors, including advising CBRE European Co-Investment Fund on the £500m acquisition of a portfolio of 22 UK logistics assets from Prologis, and representing Antirion SGR in its purchase of a 50% interest in Principal Place Commercial (which is in the course of developing office, retail and ancillary accommodation largely to be occupied by Amazon). In the development space, Smith, who has an ‘unparalleled work ethic and the ability to cut through complicated issues’, is representing Meyer Bergman European Retail Partners II on the development of Thames House in Borough Market, London. The practice’s retail expertise is predominantly on the landlord side, and Grant also advised CBRE Global Investors on a joint venture with Arax Properties for the acquisition of Willowbrook Shopping Centre. Iain Hindhaugh departed for Addleshaw Goddard.

Linklaters LLP’s ‘excellent’ team ‘grasps the gist of the legal intricacies, but at the same time does not get bogged down into acrimonious negotiations’. Although the practice is not large, it still manages to attract some of the best mandates in the UK market; for example Martin Elliott and newly promoted partner Tom Watkins (who is a ‘good problem solver, with particularly strong drafting skills’), acted for AustralianSuper Pty on its £434m acquisition of an additional 42% interest in the King’s Cross Central regeneration scheme. In another standout deal, Watkins and Patrick Plant assisted Fidelidade - Companhia de Seguros with the £300m acquisition of the Thomas More Square estate, through a joint venture with Resolution Property. Plant’s caseload also included advising on various corporate headquarter mandates in the media sector, such as advising the Economist Group on the sale of its complex in St James’s, London. Practice head Andrew Bruce is ‘consistently excellent’ and ‘strikes a fair balance between fierce negotiator and reasonable mediator’. Bruce represented Chinese Estates Holdings in its acquisition of 14 St George Street, Mayfair; and in the development space, he continues to advise Lendlease on its regeneration of Elephant & Castle. In other development highlights, Mark Burgess-Smith represented Prologis on the setting up of a joint venture with CBRE Global Investors to invest in investment-and-development properties in the UK; and Simon Price assisted Meyer Bergman with the development of a residential site at West Cromwell Road, Kensington. The practice often features on the landlord side in retail sector work.

Macfarlanes LLPprovides a trusted and tailored service’ and ‘always demonstrates a reliable accessibility and a willingness to turn documents around swiftly’. The practice has a strong UK client base, which includes the likes of Stanhope, Legal and General and Intu Properties; Dan Marriott acted for the latter client on its acquisition of a 50% stake in the Merry Hill shopping centre from the Queensland Investment Corporation. In another significant investment deal, Ian Nisse advised a joint venture led by Stanhope on the acquisition from the BBC of the Media Village and Gateway sites in White City, London. Practice head Anthony Burnett-Scott is ‘level headed, pragmatic in negotiations and capable of identifying solutions where none seem obvious’; he is acting for Balfour Beatty Investments on the public procurement process for the regeneration of the Winstanley and York Road estates adjoining Clapham Junction railway station. The team also advised on a number of hotel and leisure mandates in the development sub-sector, including Dominic Cunliffe’s advice to Arena Racing and Cozumel Estates in connection with the proposed redevelopment of Folkestone Race Course as part of Otterpool Park Garden Town, and newly promoted partner Nick Barnes representation of Arora Group and Whitebridge Hospitality on the agreement for the development of a Crown Plaza Hotel and a Holiday Inn Express at Heathrow airport’s Terminal 4. In retail work, the practice is mainly active on the landlord side, and Steven Pitchford acted for Derwent London on the pre-letting of 12 floors of the White Collar Factory in East London to retail and leisure tenants.

Mayer Brown International LLPis always responsive’, its ‘legal advice well considered and commercially focused’ and ‘the firm consistently achieves excellent results’. In 2016 the practice enjoyed a large number of investment mandates originating in the Far East; for example, newly promoted UK head Chris Harvey advised Asia Growth Properties on the £155m purchase of the entire issued units in the Trust that owns 20 Moorgate, London; he also assisted China Overseas Holdings with the £140m acquisition of the Helicon Building in the City of London from Deutsche AWM. Global head of practice Jeremy Clay, who is ‘client driven and commercial’, was also active on investment work, and represented Crosstree Real Estate on the £248m disposal of its interests in 207 Old Street and 211 Old Street to its joint venture partner, Helical. The other key figure in the team is European practice head Martin Wright, who ‘is a hugely safe pair of hands, with an endless depth of experience in development transactions of a large scale’. Wright continues to advise The Silvertown Partnership on the ongoing £3.5bn redevelopment of Silvertown Quays in London’s Docklands. The team was also highly active on behalf of key client British Land Company, to which the ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ Caroline Humble continues to provide on-going advice regarding the redevelopment and leasing of its high-profile scheme at Clarges, Mayfair. The firm is also acting for the same client on the management of the Leadenhall building. In another example of the practice’s expertise in development work, Patricia Jones advised Chelsfield Partners and Carraig Investments on a development agreement with London Underground concerning new station entrances, step free access and cooling, and oversite development for residential, retail and office use. The practice’s retail expertise is on the landlord side.

Mishcon de Reya LLP’s ‘depth of knowledge and ability to deliver on time’ make it a favourite with a number of heavyweight US investors, including Brookfield, and the practice also acts for various major European institutional investors. In 2016, the well regarded Ian Paul and Simon Hart were particularly busy on investment mandates relating to student accommodation and trophy buildings in Central London. On the development side, head of practice Nick Doffman, who ‘impresses with his business ethos’, continued to act for new client Berkeley Group on its established development at Royal Arsenal Riverside in Woolwich; and the ‘excellentNick Minkoff is assisting Olayan Group with the redevelopment of the northern part of the Knightsbridge Estate. Another key player in the development sub-sector is Stephen Hughes, who is acting on a number of major London projects including advising Earls Court Partnership on the £8bn Earls Court redevelopment project. The team was also highly active in growth areas such as PRS, with Daniel Lipman and legal director Edward Hughes-Power singled out for their ‘thorough skill set in the emerging build-to-rent market’. In the retail sector, the team continues to handle a good range of mandates for both landlords and tenants; on the tenant side, clients include Limited Brands and Coach, and legal director Claire Manches acted for the latter on the acquisition from Jaeger of a £5m premium leasehold interest in The Crown Estate’s Regent Street London.

Norton Rose Fulbright has a ‘strong, broad practice with good calibre lawyers throughout, who are all incredibly hard working’. The practice witnessed some change at the top, with the ‘fast, skilled and reasonableWasim Khan taking over from ‘outstanding lawyer and networkerDavid Sinclair as head of London real estate in May 2017. Khan has particular expertise in real estate matters employing Islamic finance. Sinclair, who remains a key figure, is able to ‘mastermind intricate negotiations’, and continued to act for 57 Whitehall Investments on the redevelopment of the Old War Office Building, Whitehall. In other examples of development work, David Hawkins assisted Ashby Capital with the forward funding of a new 100,000 ft² office building at Brunel Place in Slough, as part of the Heart of Slough Redevelopment; and Dan Wagerfield continued to act for Ecoworld on three prime residential projects in Nine Elms, London Docklands and on the River Lea peninsular. On the investment side, the team benefited from the post-Brexit interest of German funds in the UK market, and advised on a number of transactions for German sellers: Sinclair acted for GLL Real Estate Partners on the sale of Kinnaird House in Pall Mall, and Hawkins advised WealthCap on its sale of 100 Lower Thames Street. The team was also busy on behalf of key client TH Real Estate, which Neil Biswas assisted with the €250m sale of three shopping centre portfolio companies in Italy and Spain to a joint venture between TPG Capital and Partners Group. The practice is particularly well-regarded for its hotel expertise; Nick Clayson, who leads the team, has a strong Middle East client base and acted for Mubadala Development Company on the structuring of the Rosewood and Four Seasons’ hotels in Abu Dhabi.

Praised for its ‘highly competent, speedy advice’ on acquisitions and disposals, the team at Allen & Overy LLP remained highly active in transactional matters during 2016. Practice head Imogen Moss, who has a ‘great depth of industry knowledge and is calm under pressure’, acted for Ashby Capital on its £217m acquisition of a 50% stake in Fitzroy Place from Kaupthing. In another practice highlight, the ‘proactive and client sensitive’ Christopher Woolf advised key client Westbrook Partners on its £85m acquisition of the mixed-use Project Rio UK portfolio from BlackRock. Although the practice is characterised by its international investor clients, it continues to handle a good spread of development work, including global headquarters mandates. Recent examples saw Moss advise Schroder UK Real Estate Fund on the development of Ruskin Square (Croydon), and the pre-let of the first office phase to HMRC’ and Woolf’s assistance to QInvest on its joint venture with Osprey Equity Partners for the £80m forward funding for the development of 27 Commercial Road, Aldgate. The team retains its presence in the hospitality and retail sectors, where it recently handled various funding and investment mandates; for example, Moss and counsel Emma Willoughby (an ‘accomplished negotiator of commercial leases’), represented Oxford Properties and Richemont on the £198m acquisition of Mulberry’s flagship store from Aberdeen Asset Management.

At Baker McKenzie, head of practice Stephen Turner and Justin Salkeld continued to service the firm’s broad international client base across a range of areas, including finance, M&A, investment, development and corporate headquarters work. In the M&A space, Turner advised Emerson Electric on the real estate aspects of a series of carve-outs, including the spin out of its global Network Power business; and Salkeld assisted Equinix with its $3.8bn acquisition of Telecity Group. Turner was also involved in various significant investment deals, including representing a purchaser from the Far East in one of the UK’s largest property deals of 2016. Salkeld regularly acts for investors and operators in connection with the acquisition, development, operation and disposal of hotel assets; in on-going work he continues to represent Edwardian on the development of a high-profile luxury hotel project in the UK. In other highlights, the team assisted Cobelfret with various infrastructure and development projects, and also advised the Canadian High Commission on the re-gear and lease extension of its UK High Commission and Chancery buildings on Trafalgar Square and Cockspur Street.

Fieldfisher’s ‘rigorous and technically able team gives real, hard-edged commercial advice to help deliver a stronger outcome’. The practice has particular strength on the investment side, where it acts for a range of institutional and investment fund clients such as Shell Pension Funds, and Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management. Recent investment work mandates saw the ‘excellent’ Paul Houston (who ‘valuably demonstrates the balance of commercial/business acumen and legal knowledge’), act for Ladbrokes Coral Group on the £175m disposal of 50 bingo clubs; and Jonathan Wright assist Liberty Property Trust with the sale of One Didsbury Point. Other key players include the ‘very impressive’ Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy (who is ‘always able to think around problems’), and the ‘efficient and astute’ Jayne Elkins. The firm’s merger with Solihull-based Hill Hofstetter enhanced the practice’s development capability, particularly with the addition of Sue Simpson, who is acting for Cambridge Biomedical on the development of its campus. In another development highlight, the team is acting for Imperial College, London, in relation to the development of its site at White City. In the hotel and leisure sub-sector, Houston was active on behalf of Dominvs Group; and Ramatu Banga, who is ‘professional, commercial, and a good frontwoman’, continued to assist We Are Bar with property acquisitions and lease renewals. The practice further illustrates its breadth by acting for a number of retailers including Nike and BMW.

Forsters LLP provides ‘strong business acumen, and thoughtful advice’ to a range of investment funds and asset managers, including Aberdeen Asset Management and LaSalle Investment Management. Recent investment-side mandates saw Eugene McMahon and Magnus Hassett act for British Airways Pension Fund on the £179m sale of 61-67 Oxford Street and 1-14 Soho Street; and Sarah Pass assist HIFML UK Property Fund with the £56m disposal of Gallows Corner Retail Park, Romford. The practice has a strong track record in retail-led redevelopment schemes, and recently handled the acquisition and redevelopment of a mixed-use scheme at Piries Place, Horsham for British Airways Pension Trustees. In other examples of development work, Glenn Dunn acted for the Corporation of Trinity House in connection with the redevelopment of the site of the former Southwark County Court; and Ronan Ledwidge assisted a fund managed by Aberdeen Asset Management with the funding of Helical Retail’s Cortonwood Shopping Park, near Rotherham. Corporate specialist Craigie Pearson leads on hotel and leisure instructions, and is regularly engaged on M&A for clients such as Bespoke Hotels. In other highlights, the client-focused Victoria Towers acted for a subsidiary of Bursha Holdings on the sale of the Theatre District in Milton Keynes to Otium Real Estate. Practice head Matthew Swainston and founding partner Smita Edwards, who ‘gets things done and fights the client’s corner’), are also key figures.

Although Gowling WLG’s offering is led from Birmingham by Richard Bate, the practice maintains a substantial London presence that includes key players such as Jon Lloyd, Rabinder Chaggar, and Peter Thorne. Lloyd recently acted for Merlin UK Property Venture Luxembourg on the £120m sale of The Broadway Shopping Centre, Bexleyheath, to New River Retail UK; and in another example of investment work, Robert Adam assisted TIAA Henderson with the £115m sale of Ryder Court, St James’s, to Vanke. In the development sub-sector, Thorne continued to advise VSM on all aspects of the redevelopment of the New Covent Garden market, including its pending sale; and Chaggar represented a joint venture of the Crown Estate and TIAA Henderson on the development arrangements with Exeter City Council for the development of a new mixed-use retail/leisure shopping centre at Princesshay, Exeter. The retail sector is a particular area of strength and the team enjoys a good balance of landlord and tenant work, with retailer clients including Specsavers Optical Superstores, Jaeger and Under Armour. In one highlight, Chaggar advised a joint venture partnership between the Crown Estate Commissioners and TH Real Estate on the mixed-use leisure-and-retail development of the existing bus garage site in Exeter city centre. Corporate specialist Michael Lacey leads on hotel and leisure work, and advised Dolphin Capital Investors on the disposal of its 100% interest in the Playa Grande Golf and Resort project in the Dominican Republic.

Able to see both sides’, Osborne Clarke LLP’s ‘practical and commercial’ team underwent further expansion in 2016 with the hires of Louise Cartwright and Jo Footitt from Irwin Mitchell; their arrival has helped to broaden the practice’s landlord-side retail work. Tenant-side retail work is led from Bristol by Dolf Darnton, whose impressive client list includes Homebase, Selfridges and Halfords. Aside from retail, the practice has a strong sector-focus in areas such as energy, student housing and build to rent/PRS. In one example of the latter, David North acted for Palmer Capital and Cubex Land on the forward funding of two eight-storey towers comprising around 200 private rented homes, together with leisure space at ground level. In the development sub-sector, the team advised on a range of residential mandates for housebuilders and land promoters such as Welbeck Land and Taylor Wimpey East London. National head of investment Peter Day leads the London offering, where clients include UK and overseas institutions, public and private property companies and private investors; his recent work includes advising Savills IM on the £75m sale of 33 Gracechurch Street, London, by way of transferring the Jersey Property Unit Trust to a private overseas investor; and representing Orchard Street Prime UK Property Fund on its acquisition of a freehold interest in Broadway House, 1-15 King Street Hammersmith. Legal director Tim Hart and senior associate David Kerr are also both recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘pragmatic approach and clear understanding of client objectives’ ensured that the practice was busy on investment deals across a range of asset types. Simon Gardiner advised Legal & General Pensions on the £200m acquisition of a distribution warehouse to be occupied by Amazon at Tilbury Dock, and the ‘very able and personableKevin Boa acted for Grainger Residential on the £99m acquisition of a build-to-rent private rented sector development scheme in Salford Quays. The practice is possibly best known for its expertise in the hotels sector, with London practice head Claire Hughes particularly highly regarded in this respect. Hughes acted for Junson Assets Management Europe on the property aspects of its acquisition of the Hilton Dockland Riverside Hotel. Another name to note for hospitality work is corporate specialist Nick Skea-Strachan, whose caseload covers hotel and resort management contracts and franchising arrangements for the likes of Cycas Hospitality and Shangri-La. On the development side, senior consultant David Taylorremains a strong supervisor’, and Michael Reid is also ‘strongly favoured for development and occupier work’. Reid is acting for Luton Town Football Club on the acquisition and redevelopment of the Power Court site in Luton. Other key figures include investment specialist Richard Lloyd, who is ‘never unavailable and always has the interests of his client at top of mind’, and urban regeneration specialist Nic Berry.

Reed Smith LLP’s ‘extensive experience in development work’ was once again in evidence, with the team active on a number of substantial regional development projects. Well-regarded practice head Graham Reid, and the ‘unflappable’ Jon Pike, are acting for Patrizia Immobilien on the £500m development of First Street in Manchester; and Brigid North is advising The Botley Development Company on all real estate aspects of a major proposed mixed-use development at Botley in Oxford. Reid was also active in the investment space, where he is advising a joint venture between new client Angelo Gordon and Trinity Investment Management on the £95m acquisition of five multi-let science parks across the UK. In other transactional highlights, Oliver s’Jacob, who leads on real estate private equity work, advised Starwood Capital Group and Trinity Investment Management on the £85m sale of The Royal Exchange building in Manchester; and Jimmy Theodorou assisted the Reuben Brothers with the £60m purchase of Mayfair’s oldest car park site on Carrington Street. Theodorou was also busy on various high-value hotel deals. The team was weakened by the loss of Danielle Martin and senior associate Sarah Atkinson, who departed for Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Simmons & Simmons provides ‘appropriate and pertinent advice’ to the firm’s substantial hedge fund client base, which includes the likes of Cheyne Capital and Sedco Capital. Recent investment-side mandates saw practice head John Kelsey act for Avenue Capital on the £400m disposal of its student accommodation portfolio to Brookfield; and Nick Jones assist Deka Immobilien Investment with its £164m acquisition of One St Peter’s Square, Manchester, from Argent and The Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund. The practice’s development work is often sourced through its investor clients, and in one example the ‘excellentMatthew Hooton (who is a ‘reassuring presence on a deal’), acted for Deka Immobilien Investment on the acquisition of a development site at Rathbone Square, London. In another development highlight, Bristol-based Iain Macfarlane continued to act for The Ministry of Defence on the new Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at the Stanford Hall Estate, near Loughborough. Simon Kildahl is recommended for his hotel finance work; and the practice was strengthened by the hire of Richard Hopkinson-Woolley from DLA Piper and Deian Rhys from an in-house role.

Slaughter and May continues to receive a significant volume of instructions from key client Derwent London, with head of practice Jane Edwarde advising said client on the £68m sale of Tower House (10 Southampton Street) to Capital & Counties Properties, and also continuing to assist it with the office, theatre and retail development above the new Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road. Edwarde was also active in the corporate sub-sector where she advised Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital on the real estate aspects of its £217m acquisition of Dobbies Garden Centres from Tesco Holdings. The other main contact is John Nevin, who, like Edwarde, was active on a range of investment and development mandates: as well as assisting Equinix with its $874m sale of eight European data centres to Digital Realty Trust, he also continued to act for Masterworks Development in connection with its proposals to redevelop 13-14 Appold Street, London. The practice acts predominantly on the landlord-side for retail work, while in the hotel-and-leisure sub-sector, it has experience in a range of real estate assets including football stadiums, public houses, and holiday home parks. Nevin represented Bourne Leisure on its acquisition of the Studley Castle Hotel in Warwickshire. Steven Edwards retired from the practice.

Taylor Wessing LLP’s ‘engaging, knowledgeable and personable’ practice provides a ‘very cohesive and complete solution’ to real estate issues. The team has notable expertise in the student accommodation and logistics sectors, where Paul Leamy acted for McLaren Property on the £150m sale of a portfolio of six student housing developments to a new investment vehicle owned by a group of German pension funds, and Alan Evans advised a REIT on the acquisition of distribution warehouses. Another area of strength is the hotel-and-leisure sector, with the highly recommended Richard Bursby a specialist in hotel management agreements; he is currently advising Redefine BDL on eight separate hotel management agreements involving 29 hotels in the UK. In other highlights the ‘patient, brilliant and practicable’ Paul Lawrence is advising City Pride and Chalegrove Properties on their plans to build a 75-storey residential tower in the Isle of Dogs, and Adam Marks continued to act for Brentford Football Club on the development of its new stadium and related facilities. Practice head Christopher Turley and John Whitfield ‘both provide unrivalled market experience and technical knowledge of real estate law’.

Possessing a wide breadth and depth of experience’, Trowers & Hamlins LLP offers a ‘very responsive and comprehensive service that is good value for money’. The team handles a healthy mix of public and private sector mandates, and one recent public sector matter saw newly appointed national head Sara Bailey act for Enfield Council on the Meridian Water Regeneration Project, including the development of 8000 new homes, new retail, commercial leisure and cultural facilities. Private sector clients include Galliford Try, Linden Homes and Apache Capital Partners; and Julian Keith acted for the latter on a joint-venture with Moda Living to acquire and develop a £130m project in Central Manchester. The team is probably best known for its residential development expertise, where recent highlights saw Rebecca Wardle act for Opal (Silvertown) in relation to the Silvertown Way development in Canning Town, East London; she also advised Linkcity on its project to deliver a £65m education and residential development at the former Ebury Bridge Centre, close to Sloane Square. In the hotel and leisure sub-sector, key contact Julian Allen ‘always takes a commercial and pragmatic view when drafting documents and giving advice’; he regularly advises on the establishment of restaurants and clubs for clients such as Caprice group and Hakkasan.

Boodle Hatfield LLP is probably best known for advising on the private investment portfolios of landed clients such as Grosvenor and Bedford Estates. The practice also services a range of pension funds and investment companies and in 2016 it continued to focus on mixed-use and residential developments, as well as more bespoke mandates; in an example of the latter, the ‘intelligent and commercialAndrew Wilmot-Smith acted for Lovett Enterprises on the acquisition of a lease for a new music venue/late night theatre in the arches of Flat Iron Square Southwark. Other names to note include practice head Caroline King, who has particular expertise in major urban regeneration schemes, and office, hotel and retail developments; and Karen Mason, whose specialisms include roadside retail.

According to one client, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is ‘much more user friendly than other London-based practices and offers a value comparable to smaller provincial practices’. The team has a strong residential-developer client base that includes Bellway and Crest Nicholson Operations, and in one recent mandate Robin Grove acted for Countryside Properties on the acquisition of land for around 800 homes in Ebbsfleet Garden City. The hotel-and-leisure sub-sector is another strength, with the ‘super experienced, pragmatic and speedyLee Medlock, assisted by ‘thorough and tenacious’ senior associate Eddie Richards, regularly acting for both Stonegate Pub Company and P&O. In other highlights, practice head Mark Smith handled a major corporate relocation mandate, and investment specialist Simon Ewing advised a high-net-worth individual on various significant acquisitions and divestments.

Clyde & Co LLP stands out for its retail work, with global head of retail David Wyatt (who is ‘a significant cut above the rest’), providing ‘valuable and realistic advice’ to a large number of multi-national and UK high street retailers, including Estée Lauder and B&Q. The practice also handles development work for a notable number of UK property businesses, including Daejan Holdings and U+I Group; Graeme Taylor is acting for the latter on its development agreement with the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority for the comprehensive redevelopment of the fire station on Albert Embankment. Practice head Robert Pilcher focuses on acquisitions and disposals and recently handled a major deal in the affordable housing sub-sector. In other matters Taylor and Annabelle Redman assisted CGIS Group with the disposal of ten investment assets in London to a variety of purchasers.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s ‘personable and astute’ lawyers act for a broad array of housebuilders and public sector clients including Crest Nicholson, Taylor Wimpey and Waverley District Council. Recent highlights included Crispin Tomlinson’s advise to Linden Homes on the acquisition of a development site from The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, and Glenn Ruddy’s advise to Amcorp Properties Berhad on a joint venture with Grosvenor Europe Investments and Grosvenor Fund Management Spain to invest in Spanish real estate. The team was also active in the retail space on behalf of both landlords and high-end retail tenants: in one ongoing matter, Andrew Boulton continues to represent Epping Forest District Council in relation to the leasehold agreements for the Epping Forest Shopping Park in Loughton. Head of practice Robert Lee focuses on regeneration work with an emphasis on housebuilding. The practice underwent some expansion in 2016 with the hires of Helen Murcott from King & Wood Malleson, James Ross from Ashurst, and Nick Marshall from EMW Law LLP.

Farrer & Co wins praise for its ‘excellent team ethos, expert and commercial advice and very quick turnaround times’. The practice has a strong high-net-worth client base, and remains active in this sub-sector, with the ‘thorough and diligentCharles Anderson acting for a private office investor on the acquisition of a long leasehold interest in the commercial retail unit of a building at Embassy Gardens, Nine Elms. Other areas of expertise include charities, educational and arts bodies, and landed estates; recent matters saw Mark Gauguier and practice head Andrew Bailey acting for the Charities Property Fund on various deals including the forward purchase of a new build office building at 122-126 Back Church Lane in Whitechapel. In the development sub-sector, the team handled a number of mandates for the Duchy of Cornwall, including advising on the development of an urban community in Dorchester. Other clients include Highbridge Properties and Hub Group.

Fladgate LLP’s ‘strong team with strength from partners to associates’ is ‘very experienced in the leisure sector’, where key players include the ‘very commercial and deal orientatedStephen Lewis, and Mark Saunders, who is ‘market leading on title and lease issues and excellent at large transactions, especially cinemas’. Saunders recently advised Odeon on the opening of a cinema in the new BH2 leisure complex in Bournemouth. The practice is also noted as being ‘a very good source for guidance in difficult transactional situations’, and in one highlight Nick Mumby acted for Aldgate Tower Investments on its £346m sale to a joint venture between China Life and Brookfield Property Partners. Other names to note include the highly recommended Gideon Dabby-Joory, who represented an offshore private family trust on the £35m disposal of a brownfield site for development in St Pancras, and senior associate Amanda Hado-Bodfield, who ‘gets the deal done’. In the retail sector, high-end tenant clients include Roche Bobois and Jurlique UK. The ‘very insightfulRichard Reuben leads the team.

At Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP global head of real estate Mark Wheelhouse advises on large-scale real estate developments and investments, real estate joint ventures and major investment transactions in the hotels and hospitality sector. The team is regularly instructed on the real estate aspects of corporate transactional work and in one recent highlight advised IVG Immobilien on the €3.3bn sale of Officefirst to Blackstone. Other clients include TPG Real Estate, Ares Management Real Estate and Host Hotels & Resorts.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s ‘extremely detail-oriented team is able to quickly synthesize complex issues, explain them clearly, and propose solutions’. The team continues to be involved in a high volume of corporate transactions for foreign investors, often with real estate located outside the UK; recent examples include advising Terra Firma Capital Partners on its sale of Odeon and UCI Cinemas to AMC Theatres, and assisting Oaktree Capital with its joint venture with Valad for the acquisition of Wisniowy Business Park in Poland. Key figures include ‘great lawyerAlan Samson, senior partner Wayne McArdle (who focuses on M&A in the real estate sector), and associate Claibourne Harrison, who is ‘differentiated by his quick thinking and ability to dissect certain concepts accurately and exhaustively’. The team is also noted for its strong hotel-sector offering, which advises clients such as Hyatt and Marriott International.

Goodwin is best known for its investment work on behalf of clients such as Ares Management and Credit Suisse Asset Management, and in 2016 the team represented Deutsche Asset Management on its £370m acquisition and forward funding of the development of a new headquarters for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in Stratford. Head of practice Joe Conder and counsel Martin Smith have ‘excellent expertise at driving deals forward’ and in one highlight assisted Kumpulan Wang Persaraan with the £270m sale of 88 Wood Street to The Shaw Foundation. The team also impresses in the hotel and leisure sector, further developing its offering in this area with the hires of the ‘efficient and commercially minded’ Gretchen Scott from King & Wood Mallesons, and Matthew Pohlman, who joined from an in-house role. Pohlman and Conder advised Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts on the management agreement for a new luxury hotel at Ten Trinity Square.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP has further expanded its practice over the last 12 months, hiring Danielle Martin from Reed Smith LLP, as well as a number of individuals from King & Wood Mallesons, including Matthew Priday and corporate transactional specialists Steven Cowins and Michael Goldberg. Priday recently advised British Land on the £210m acquisition of 1 Sheldon Square, Paddington, and Cowins represented Cannon Street Unitholder in the £485m sale of the corporate structure which owns 78 Cannon Street. Demonstrating ‘exceptional knowledge and speed’, practice head Tim Webb was active on a range of property deals, advising Osprey Equity Partners on the acquisition and forward funding of an apart-hotel at 27 Commercial Road in Aldgate, and assisting Rockspring Property Investment Managers with the £50m acquisition and forward funding of a PRS development in central Birmingham.

Hamlins LLP’s ‘focused, efficient and professional’ team specialises in investment work for a range of professional property companies, sovereign wealth funds, private equity investors, banks and high-net-worth individuals. Senior partner Joseph Holder, who is a ‘transaction facilitator’, acted for Criterion Capital on the £170m sale of East India Dock, and Paul Spacey assisted Brukaros with its £42m acquisition of Exchange Flags in Liverpool. The practice also stands out for its expertise in the hotel and leisure sector, in particular in relation to acquiring and developing brands and sites for new restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs across the UK. ‘Commercially aware’ managing partner Nigel Mason is currently advising the Drafthouse on the acquisition of a portfolio of five pubs in Central London, and Ben Kilshaw acted for Leon Restaurants on the acquisition of more than twenty individual new leases in central London and across the UK. The practice is led by Mark Hurst, who was active on a number of matters for key client William Pears.

Howard Kennedy LLP provides ‘strong service and excellent industry knowledge’ particularly in relation to the hotel-and-leisure and retail sectors. Eric Gummers, who is ‘very attentive to the details’, specialises in condo-hotels, fractionals, and timeshares; while Adam Walford leads on restaurants work and acts for clients such as Carluccio’s and Samba Brands. On the retail side the team ‘is particularly good at assisting new entrant retail businesses to the UK to get up to speed with local laws and commercial leasing practices’. Retail co-heads Julian Hindmarsh and Nicky Stewart, and ‘fantastic’ senior associate Vanessa Laundon, provide ‘succinct, timely advice’ to a multitude of luxury brands including Honey Birdette and NARS Cosmetics. The practice’s investment work is led by Andrew Collins and Graham Kaye, and in one highlight Collins advised a group of Isle of Man investors on the re-gear of the occupancies of a landmark office building in central London. Paul Springall heads the practice.

Irwin Mitchelldelivers a good service to clients and offers a truly viable alternative to the established leaders in the real estate market’. The practice underwent some reorganisation in 2016, with Ian Silverblatt taking charge of the team, following the departure of a number of lawyers, including Rob Thompson, to Dentons. Silverblatt focuses on corporate lettings, and investment acquisitions and disposals. The team continued to advise HSBC on a range of development and investment instructions and was also active in the corporate space, with James Letchford assisting The Hendy Group with the property aspects of its acquisition of Lifestyle Motor Group. Claire Illingworth was particularly active, advising Honda on the letting of part of its Manchester dealership to Harley Davidson, and acting for Caudwell Properties on the management and redevelopment of its investment site in Solihull. Other key players in the team include the ‘very pragmaticChris Baker, who leads on leasehold enfranchisement and residential work, and ‘excellent team leaderAyesha Hasan, who recently handled a significant divestment.

K&L Gates LLP’s diverse practice services a mix of international investors, public sector clients and domestic developers. The team is currently instructed on a number of major development projects for key client TIAA Henderson Real Estate, including the St James Quarter Development in Edinburgh and a mixed-use development at 40 Leadenhall Street; the team also advised the client on the £58m sale of Barnard’s Inn in Holborn to Europa Capital. Another active client of the practice is Z Hotels, for which newly promoted partner Rajeev Joshi and Richard Smith acted on various acquisitions, including a site in Holborn. In the retail sub-sector, the team acts for both landlords and tenants; one recent mandate saw senior associate Paul Alger assist Blackrock UK Property Fund and Coal Pension Properties with a letting to DFS in Nottingham. Other key figures in the practice include global co-head Wayne Smith (who is advising Lendlease Construction Europe on various development projects), Piers Coleman and Melanie Curtis.

Lewis Silkin LLP focuses on commercial and residential development work for corporates, private developers and registered social housing providers, and the team also services a variety of retailers and restaurants including Wagamama and Esprit. Key team members include foreign investment specialist Jonathan Reuben, who leads the practice; Leonard Goodrich, whose clients include Rio Tinto; and Rachel Francis-Lang, who focuses on landlord and tenant issues for corporate occupiers with large portfolios of real estate, particularly in the retail and advertising and marketing sectors. Sager Group Aldermore Bank and Pizza Express are also clients of the practice.

At real estate boutique Maples Teesdale LLP, the ‘experienced team has good bench strength for mid-ticket investment deals and property management’. In 2016 the practice leveraged off its strong institutional investor and investment company client base to advise on a number of shopping centre deals; Mark Bryan, Liam MacDonnell and managing partner Chris Wilkinson acted for Standard Life Investments on the £41m purchase of Regent Circus in Swindon; and Roger Thornton and the ‘very commercial and pragmaticKatherine Watts assisted Rockspring UK Value 2 with the £40m acquisition of Clayton Square Shopping Centre, Liverpool, from InfraRed Capital Partners. In other highlights, Wilkinson and the ‘technically ableNeil Sagoo continued to represent the US Embassy in the £350m sale of its building at Grosvenor Square to Qatari Diar, and the ‘tenacious and reliableDeclan Power acted for London & UK Property on the purchase of The Globeworks, Birmingham, and ensuing student accommodation development scheme. The team was also active in the hotel and leisure space, where Watts acted for Cineworld on two new cinema pre-lets in Warrington and Northamptonshire. Other key figures include the ‘bright and focusedMark Bryan, and ‘clear and concise communicatorAlison Ramsey.

Mills & Reeve LLP developed its London offering as a result of the firm’s merger with Maxwell Winward on 1 June 2017, which added the likes of Orla O’Sullivan and Michael Giess to the team. The practice, that continues to be led from Cambridge by national head Beverley Firth, is regularly instructed on substantial London mandates, particularly in the development sub-sector. David Roberts is acting for Lendlease on a number of key instructions, including the regeneration of the International Quarter, Stratford, and Nicholas Finlayson-Brown is advising The British Library on the proposed development of a three-acre site to the rear of its St Pancras HQ. Charles Staveley leads the investment offering and in one example of the team’s work, Michelle Cookson advised Trinity (D) on its £185m acquisition of the Designer Outlet Village at The O2. The practice was also active on behalf of the firm’s array of university clients, which includes the likes of the University of Cambridge and the University of Westminster.

Paul Hastings LLP’s ‘knowledgeable and pragmatic’ team continued to be highly active for a range of investor clients on domestic and international real estate acquisitions, often with a hotel component. Head of practice David Ryland, whose ‘strength lies in his overall understanding of real estate from individual asset transactions to funding platforms’, advised key client Starwood Capital on the proposed sale of a majority interest in the Principal Hayley portfolio of approximately 50 UK assets. Ryland and Michael James also acted for Goldman Sachs International on the €60m purchase of 12 Travelodge hotels across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Another name to note is the ‘client driven and commercial’ Mark Rajbenbach; he and Ryland continued to advise Crosstree Real Estate on the development of Camden town hall into a lifestyle hotel development. Outside the hotels sector, Mark Shepherd assisted Brockton Capital with the acquisition of office premises on Folgate Street.

Squire Patton Boggs’ team is ‘practical and pragmatic whilst ensuring its client’s legal needs are covered’. London real estate head Michael Shaw focuses on investment work for a variety of institutional investors, private real estate funds, and high-net-worth individuals; in one key transaction he advised Aviva Life & Pensions UK on the sale of its interest in the Intu Bromley shopping centre to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. In another example of investment work, Patrick Ryan represented the shareholders in Alanchoice on the £27m sale of the company and its industrial property portfolio. In the development sub-sector, the team often advises on the real estate aspects of power projects, and further capability was added in this area by the hire of John Danahy, who joined from King & Wood Mallesons. Other names to note include Rachel Orton, who assisted One Healthcare Partners with the development of a site in Goodman’s Hatfield Business Park; and the ‘professional and reliable’ Gary Paddison, who focuses on the funding of large investment portfolios and associated disposals and acquisitions. Hospitality-and-leisure clients include Quintain Estates.

In 2016 Stephenson Harwood’s team was active on a high volume of deals in the retail sector on behalf of investor clients such as Schroders and Tristan Capital. Practice head Jonathon Wilkes acted for LaSalle Investment Management on the £240m purchase of the Intu Bromley shopping centre from Aviva Life & Pensions UK and the London Borough of Bromley, and he also assisted Metric Income Plus with the acquisition of Haverhill Retail Park. The hotel-and-leisure sub-sector is another area of strength for the practice and the team acts for a good spread of clients including Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, Ambassador Theatre Group, and De Vere Hotels. Robert Newman acted for AccorHotels Group on the sale of the former Formule 1 Hotel in Birmingham to the owner of the adjoining Ibis Hotel, and Stephen Laud assisted Pho Restaurants with a number of new site acquisitions. Simon Brading and James Trundle are also key contacts.

Travers Smith LLP specialises in advising real estate investment funds such as Ciel Capital and Cinnamon Care Capital on the acquisition, management, and disposal of property assets. The team is ‘always able to tackle complex projects and fields’ lawyers with in depth industry knowledge’; 2016 work highlights included newly-promoted partner Paul Kenny’s advice to BTC Qatar on the acquisition of Bow Street Magistrate’s Court and Police Station in Covent Garden; and consultant Julian Bass assisting Clearbell Capital with the purchase and redevelopment of The Riverwalk, Durham, into a mixed-use retail and leisure scheme with student accommodation. Practice head Simon Rutman, who ‘excels on complex development/investment arrangements which form part of a wider corporate transaction’, was active on a number of care-home site purchases for Patron Capital, and also assisted Greenacre Capital with the acquisition of a 90-acre strategic land site near Thanet in Kent. The team was also active in the hotel-and-leisure and retail sectors, with Kenny advising Exclusive Hotels and Venues on its acquisition of the Castle Inn Hotel, and retail specialist Anthony Judge assisting McColls Retail Group with the £120m purchase of 298 Co-op stores.

Wedlake Bell LLP demonstrates ‘superb knowledge and excellent delivery of advice and information’, and the practice is well-versed in advising international investors on a range of deals. The ‘very commercialClaire Nelson acted for an offshore private property company on the £40m purchase of a central London multi-let mixed-use property, and Grainne McCourt represented Warburg-HIH Invest Real Estate on its £17m sale of a large distribution unit in Durham to Stafford County Council. Senior partner Kim Lalli focuses on the healthcare and residential sub-sectors, and in one highlight, is acting for CALA Management on the acquisition and redevelopment of an industrial site at Imber Court, Surrey. In the retail sub-sector, the team was enhanced by the hire of Leah Freeman, who joined from Druces LLP; Freeman and Graham Atkins advised Hugo Boss on a re-gear of its head office in Camden. Malcolm Macfarlane and Justin Lewis-Vivas are the main contacts.

White & Case LLP offers ‘a unique combination of commercial insight, industry knowledge and an ability to find good solutions to complicated legal issues’. The team is regularly instructed on major corporate transactions, and in one example corporate specialist David Cox, who is ‘frank, direct and concise’, acted for Montagu Private Equity on its acquisition of Funeral Partners Group. Practice head James Dodsworth was also busy in transactional matters, advising Corney & Barrow Bars on the disposal of its London wine bar portfolio. The other name to note is newly-promoted partner Victoria Landsbert, a ‘highly skilled lawyer who is very aware of the legal aspects of foreign jurisdictions in multi-jurisdictional transactions’. The team has particular experience of data centres, logistics facilities and hotels-and-leisure mandates.

Bircham Dyson Bell continues to act on major energy and infrastructure projects; one highlight saw head of commercial property Ellen James advise Garden Bridge Trust on the development of the Garden Bridge project across the River Thames. The team was also active in the investment area, where David Darvill advised Famous Brands Management Company on its £120m share-sale purchase of Gourmet Burger Kitchen; and investment head Jonathan Fewster assisted a student housing charity with the conditional sale of leasehold property comprising student accommodation and a number of residential properties. Michael Parker leads the department.

Blake Morgan LLP’s ‘practical, value for money’ team is led by Jeremy Taylor, who demonstrates ‘deep knowledge of the sector’. Taylor advised key client Dorrington on a number of transactions including the £25m purchase of a multi-let office building at 12 Gough Square from Zurich Assurance. In the development area, the team is probably best known for its work in the social housing sub-sector, but it also acts for commercial developers; one mandate saw the ‘prompt and proactiveStephen Solomons advise Danehurst Developments on the purchase and development of a site in Kingston-upon-Thames for use as student accommodation and commercial space. Another name to note is Mark Hiley, who is ‘particularly good at dealing with the detail quickly’.

Bristows LLP offers ‘pragmatic and business orientated advice, which demonstrates expert knowledge and focuses on material issues’. ‘Very professional’ head of practice Teresa Edmund operates across a range of sectors including TMT, life sciences and garden-centre retail; in the latter area she advised Blue Diamond on the acquisition of the land and assets of Harlow Garden Centre. Edmund was also active for key client The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, which she advised on the re-development and pre-letting of 11 Stone Buildings to Edwin Coe LLP. The other key contact is Alexandra Lethbridge, who co-heads the practice with Edmund; she continues to act for Kodak Alaris on its partnering arrangement with Land Securities to deliver the phased redevelopment of its production facility in Harrow. Senior associate Tim Allen ‘demonstrates good business acumen and avoids over-labouring minor points’.

Burges Salmon LLPprovides a consistently high level of service’ to a varied client base that takes in the Greater London Authority, Bouygues Development and Aviva Investors. The team is also a favourite with the Crown Estate, which it advised on a number of investment and development deals, including Richard Clark’s advice on the sale of 1 Carlton House Terrace in London. Richard Read leads on investment work and has a focus on the hotel-and-leisure sector; in one highlight he advised Virgin Active on the sale of a portfolio of 35 gyms and health clubs to Nuffield Health. In the development space, Philip Beer and the ‘commercially astute and service mindedRoss Polkinghorne are advising Greater London Authority on the procurement of a development partner for the Royal Albert Dock regeneration project. The practice also has strength in the retail sector where Matthew Sims acts for a client base of of high profile tenants, including Marks and Spencer and Waterstones Booksellers. All named partners divide their time between the firm’s Bristol and London offices.

Collyer Bristow LLP’s ‘partner-led service is great value for money and excellent for technical competence and commerciality’. Practice head Alex O’Connor and Rory Macpherson, who demonstrate ‘a can do approach and pay attention to details’, were active on a number of major development schemes, including advising Ipsus Developments on the acquisition and development of a site in Clapham for residential purposes. The practice has a number of housebuilder clients, and O’Connor and ‘client focused’ senior associate Sukina Dhillon are acting for Prime Place Developments on the development and sale of sites in Sevenoaks and Cheshunt. Stephen Gawne is a key contact for investment work; he recently assisted an insurance company with the £13m sale of its headquarters in Docklands. In the hotel-and-leisure sub-sector, the team has particular expertise in hotel financing and also acts for restaurants, bars and sports clubs on acquisitions and disposals.

Cripps LLP is probably best known for its work on behalf of retailers such as Waitrose and Jigsaw, although the practice actually assists a broader client base that also takes in public and private companies, financial institutions, institutional and individual investors and developers. Practice head Mike Scott, and senior partner Clare Hyland are the main contacts and lead the team from the firm’s Kent office. Retail specialist Matthew Cox departed for TLT.

Dechert LLP’s team is led by William Fryzer, who has been active on a number of regional development projects for both domestic and international businesses. His work highlights include advising Adderstone Group on the development of a five tower PRS development at East Quay, Newcastle, and representing the trustees of a syndicate of private investors in the £65m sale of a development site in Petersfield. Another name to note is senior associate David Gervais, who assisted the firm’s Dubai office with various international mandates, and also advised Fryzer on the renewal of leases for the Sal Pension Fund property portfolio.

Edwin Coe LLP’s team is ‘very knowledgeable on landlord and tenant’ matters and has expertise in a number of areas including retail, hospitality, residential developments and property investments for overseas clients. Practice head Stephen Brower focuses on transactional work and is advising Luxlo on the development and sale of individual flats at 77 South Audley Street in London. In another example of investment work, Philip Boursnell handled a number of retail and hospitality deals for S I Pension Trustees, including the sale of a Travelodge in Sunbury to a private investor. The ‘efficient’ Ian Gilmour focuses on retail work for clients such as Lush, while the ‘professional and approachableWilliam Thompson is active in the corporate occupier sub-sector.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP is probably best known for its work in the retail sector, where the team remained highly active on behalf of key client Intu Group. Head of practice Anne O’Neill advised Intu Bromley on the sale of its interest in the Intu Bromley shopping centre to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, and newly promoted partner Andrew Denye assisted Intu Lakeside in negotiating SEAT’s first shopping centre retail store. The practice was also active in areas such as the real estate aspects of energy projects and housing association development work; in a highlight in the latter area, counsel Sara Branch advised Notting Hill Home Ownership on the purchase of a development site at 4-20 Eldridge Road for a mixed-use development scheme. Fiona Stone co-heads the practice with O’Neill.

Payne Hicks Beach continued to handle a range of investment and development deals for the firm’s array of landed estate clients and high-net-worth individuals. The ‘very commercially minded and astuteAndrew Berry leads the team and advised Home Counties landed estate on the prospective development of 90 acres of its agricultural holdings for several thousand units of commercial, residential development, community-use and care homes; he also assisted another landed estate with the negotiation of terms for a mixed-use housing development in Yorkshire. Another name to note is Richard Stapylton-Smith, who assisted a Middle Eastern Consortium with the £15m sale refurbished high-end flats in South Kensington. The team also acts for a number of corporate occupiers with large portfolios.

Penningtons Manches LLP services a number of major institutional investor and developer clients such as Aviva Investors, Sellar Property Group, and Alumno Developments. Key players include John Hargreaves, who has particular expertise in handling student accommodation schemes for Alumno Developments; James McNeilly, who focuses on the tech sector; and practice head Peter McElligott. The team is noted for its proficiency in advising foreign investors seeking to purchase property in London, with Duncan Taylor the name to note in this regard.

RPC’s ‘attentive’ practice has ‘good industry knowledge’, and the team has particular strength in sectors such as retail, education and charities. Practice co-head Sarah Blunn, who is ‘personable and pragmatic’, specialises in corporate occupier work, and in one highlight, is advising Quadrature Capital on the relocation of its head office to London’s "cheesegrater" building (122 Leadenhall). Blunn was also busy in the investment sub-sector, where she represented Maybrook Properties in the £13m sale of a factory and warehouse asset in Carlisle. Her fellow practice co-head, David Johnston, focuses on investment work for both UK and foreign investors and is acting for NHBC on various transactions including the transfer of a residential development. In the retail sub-sector the team advises both tenants and occupiers, and Johnston is assisting Kout Food Group with the signing and termination of leases, and property occupation management, among other matters.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s ‘top notch’ practice focuses on high-value transactional work for international investment managers such as DivcoWest Fund and TH Real Estate. In recent highlights, practice head Iain Morpeth and newly-promoted partner David Seymour advised APG on its acquisition (with Henderson UK Shopping Centre Fund) of a 75% interest in the Edinburgh St James Shopping Centre; and the ‘very pragmatic’ Carol Hopper represented DS Smith on the development aspects of a £300m combined heat-and-power facility at Kemsley. Seymour also acted for DivcoWest Fund IV REIT on its £243m sale of 123 Buckingham Palace Road, London, to a consortium led by Gaw Capital.

Sharpe Pritchard leverages off its strong public sector client base to advise on a slew of high value development schemes. Head of practice Joannah Pickering is advising the London Borough of Haringey on its procurement of a development partner to redevelop the Council’s Hornsey town hall site; he is also acting for Thanet District Council in connection with the potential development of the Dreamland Amusement Park in Margate. In the investment sub-sector, the team assisted Runnymede Borough Council with its £30m acquisition of a twelve unit industrial development site.

Steptoe and Johnson LLPis good at "cutting to the chase" in complex transactions’, and the team has particular expertise in retirement villages, data centres and residential developments. Head of department Brendan Patterson (a ‘strong negotiator’) and Sam Kelly recently advised Telecity on the real estate aspects of the $3.8bn takeover of Telecity by Equinix. In the development sub-sector, the ‘experienced’ Matthew Farmer, who is ‘able to get the deal done’, is assisting Hillesden Trust with the development and sale of Bourne End Mills in Hemel Hempstead. Another name to note is Simon Collis, who has ‘very strong attention to detail and a good retention of key points, together with good analytical skills’. Collis and Patterson are acting for Coln Park in relation to a residential development and sale of luxury houses in the Cotswolds.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP has ‘very strong industry knowledge and is well organised with effective processes and service levels’. The team remains highly active on residential and mixed-use development mandates for the firm’s substantial housebuilder client base; highlights included ‘experienced’ practice co-head Francesco Ferrari’s advice to Barratt London on its £3.5bn mixed-use redevelopment of Meridian Water; and James Mackay’s assistance to Redrow Homes on the purchase and proposed redevelopment of Global Court, West Drayton. On the investment side, the team is ‘considerably better than others in the niche of ground rent acquisitions’, and the ‘commercially astuteEollyn Ives is acting for Hart Retirement (Thamesnorth) and Hart Retirement Developments (Southern) on the sale of a portfolio of companies that own 15 large mixed-use developments to Long Harbour for the purposes of ground rent investment. Other key team members include practice co-head Roger Fitton and the ‘very pragmatic and commercialAndrew Bedford.

Bates Wells Braithwaite offers ‘practical, down to earth advice at a good price’ and the practice has an ‘excellent understanding of the charity and commercial property sectors’. In one recent example of work in the charity sector, the firm is advising YMCA London Southwest on the purchase of land with a view to development as a housing project providing 36 units of accommodation for the homeless. The team also has a strong leisure offering, which takes in cultural and creative organisations; ‘intelligent’ deputy head of department Mark Traynor and ‘efficient’ senior associate Karli Hiscock are advising the British Film Institute on the acquisition of a long leasehold interest in part of the Hungerford Car Park for the construction of a new National Film Centre on the Southbank. Tony Cartmell heads the department. Nick Ivey joined Stone King LLP.

In 2016 Bevan Brittan LLP’s team remained active on a high volume of commercial mandates for the firm’s considerable public and third-sector client base. Andrew Shaw advised Peabody on its acquisition of 190 affordable housing flats in a 45 storey tower and terrace development forming part of the Elephant & Castle regeneration, and Steven Smith advised London Borough of Hounslow on the phased disposal of its existing Civic Centre to a consortium including Bouygues Developments and Notting Hill Housing. Ian Caplan leads on property work for NHS Trusts and recently assisted West London Mental Health NHS Trust with the disposal of Broadmoor Hospital.

The technology and energy sub-sectors are particular specialist areas at Bird & Bird LLP, and the team has considerable experience in advising on data-centre transactions. In one recent highlight, Ben Henry advised Cardiff Data Investments on its £25m acquisition of a data centre at Celtic Gateway in Cardiff Bay. Henry was also active in the corporate occupier sub-sector and advised Sony Mobile Communications Management on its relocation from Hammersmith to Building 10 in Chiswick Park, London. Jonathan Baker heads the team and advised Nando’s on its purchase of 37 Battersea Square in London.

At Bond Dickinson LLP, London head of practice Martin Stacey has particular expertise in representing local authorities in development and regeneration projects, often in relation to town centre and retail-led schemes. The practice operates UK-wide and has a certain public-sector focus, with clients including London Borough of Lewisham, Luton Borough Council and Medway Council. In the retail sub-sector, the regional team acts for a very broad array of retailers that includes Sainsbury’s, Costa Coffee, and Specsavers. Southampton-based Alistair Walton is representing New Look Retailers in its proposed head-office relocation to the King’s Cross Development.

Real estate boutique Brecher LLP enjoys a strong UK developer client base which includes the likes of The Office Group and Oakmayne Properties. The team’s work encompasses large scale residential developments in London and the regions, high-value lettings, and also acting for shopping centre owners and leisure sector tenants. Names to note include joint managing partners Nicky Richmond and Jeremy Abram, as well as senior partners Valerie Brecher and Andrew Brecher.

Capsticks LLP acts for the NHS, large national and international private healthcare companies and social-housing providers on a broad range of real estate mandates including: new hospital developments, infrastructure projects, estate restructuring, major headquarters developments and portfolio management. Key practitioners include practice head Sam Hopkins, social-housing specialist Susie Rogers, and head of housing Philip Brown. Hilary Blackwell departed for Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

Clarkslegal LLP wins praise for its ‘top quality conveyancing and property-related advice’, which is ‘provided swiftly with a practical, commercially-minded approach’. The team handles a good mix of public and private sector work, and recent highlights saw Reading-based Richard Higgs advise Swanscombe Development on the disposal of two large quarry sites in Kent, and act for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on the disposal of land near Oxford for residential development. The team is led by Rachel Krol, who is ‘good at explaining technicalities and identifying points of substance’; and newly-promoted partner Simon Ralphs is noted for being ‘very knowledgeable in the field of restaurant leases’. Other clients include Carillion, Lafarge UK Pension Trustees, and St Clair Developments.

Davitt Jones Bould is probably best known for its public sector expertise, with the team noted as being ‘receptive to the needs of a local authority in challenging times’. Taunton-based head of practice Madeleine Davitt continued to advise Royal Parks on the construction of the new London Cycle Superhighway through St James’s Park, Hyde Park and Green Park. Davitt was also active in the investment sub-sector, where she advised Plato Estates on the £1m acquisition of a Formula 1 Garage in Milton Keynes. In the London office, Sean Bulman handled a number of investments in the retail sector, and together with ‘good communicatorTom Castle and Taunton-based Robin de Wreede, continued to assist a local authority with a major regeneration project.

Druces LLP provides ‘good clear advice and a commercial approach’. The practice is probably best known for its specialism in syndicated property investment, but it also acts for a range of REITs, financial institutions, property companies, and pension funds; clients on the investment side include Henderson Global Investors and British Arab Commercial Bank. In the development sub-sector, the team is active across a range of asset types including sports facilities, data centres, and premises for corporate occupiers. Names to note include Suzanne Middleton Lindsley and Nicholas Brent, who show ‘detailed commercial understanding of key issues and the ability to deal with issues incisively’; and the ‘responsive and sensibleAdrian Footer. Karen Chapman leads on syndicated investment work.

Fox Williams LLP is ‘quick to respond with relevant and practical advice’ and the team continues to handle a number of investment deals in the hotel and leisure sectors. Head of practice Phillip Hope, who ‘knows the law and the property market inside out’, advised Richmond Property Investments on the purchase of a former public house for residential purposes, and also acted for Tortelli on the signing of a lease for a restaurant in London’s Haymarket. In other highlights, the ‘focused and reliableSimon Smith continued to advise a major property investment company on its office and retail portfolio, and the ‘knowledgeableElizabeth Ruff assisted Neil Hudgell with lease renewal and the restructuring of its office portfolio. Clients include FM Global, Placid Invest and Al Rumaithy Investment Company.

GSC Solicitors LLP provides a ‘very personal and business-like service’ to a range of clients in the media and hotel-and-leisure sectors. In 2016, the team handled a number of corporate occupier mandates, one of which saw the ‘innovativeHarvey Posener advise Universal Music on the relocation of its headquarters to Pancras Square in King’s Cross. Other names to note include ‘great strategistPeter Belcher, who has a strong practice acting for franchisees, and Amee Popat, who specialises in the purchase of leases and freeholds for corporate occupiers. Clients include Double Negative, EMI and Channel 4.

Goodman Derrick LLP handled a high volume of development site disposals in 2016 for a broad client base that takes in property investment companies, developers, funds and high-net-worth individuals. The team was also active on numerous development schemes: Gregor Hamlen advised QED Property on three development projects for affordable housing in Ealing, for example, and Simon Catt continued to act for Oakland Primecare on developments for high quality nursing homes. In the retail sub-sector, clients include Beauty Base, Agent Provocateur, and Essentials. Practice head Michael Collins and investment specialist Chris Langan are additional contacts.

At Gordon Dadds LLP, Justin Neal has taken over leadership of the practice, although Jeremy Davy remains a key figure. The practice has particular expertise in advising international clients on property acquisition in London, and is proficient in dealing with a range of asset types, including residential, mixed-use, hotels, retail and petrol stations. Marilyn Elstow advises developers on the acquisition of development sites, and Kiran Yadav has experience across the range of landlord and tenant matters. Clients include Buccleuch Property Group, Centaur Media and Rymans.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP’s ‘very well informed’ team has particular expertise in the media, leisure and entertainment sectors. In recent headline work, Melanie Benson acted for Really Useful Theatres Group on its acquisition of 6 Catherine Street (off Drury Lane), and practice head Robert Reilly continued to assist The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with the development of its campus. Another name to note is Leo Marino, who has ‘excellent legal and commercial knowledge’; particularly active in the investments sub-sector, he has been advising a number of investment syndicates including on the purchase of the Castle View Shopping Centre in Caerphilly. The practice is also present in the retail sector, where it acts for the likes of Wolford London and IMO Car Wash.

At Katten Muchin Rosenman UK LLP, practice head Peter Sugden and Gavin Vollans are ‘both very commercially minded and able to assist the client in weighing up the risks and getting the deal done’. The team is best known for its expertise in the hotels sub-sector, where it acts for a large number of brands including Wyndham Worldwide and Luxury Hotel Partners. In recent work, Sugden advised Shiva Hotels on the sale of the Hampton by Hilton at Gatwick Airport to Redefine BDL Hotels, and Terry Green advised Wyndham Worldwide on its $55m acquisition of a hotel chain based in India. The practice also handles a range of other asset types, and in the retail sub-sector Sugden assisted Chester Greyhound Retail Park Property and Aprirose with their £36m investment acquisition of Greyhound Retail Park in Chester.

Kingsley Napley LLP continues to handle a range of development mandates for entrepreneurial investors and property companies, and recent mandates saw head of practice Paul Harbour advise Northants with regard to its 620-acre mixed-use development site in North Wellingborough. On the investment side, senior associate Daniel Moan assisted a new investment company with a number of acquisitions for its retail portfolio. The other key contact is residential specialist Bethan Owen, who is ‘exceptionally good on conveyancing work’. Besides residential mandates, Owen is also active in the corporate occupier space. Clients include Ravensbourne Property Holdings, Baxter Properties and Harwell Campus.

The team at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP is ‘very easy to work with’ and has a strong investment company client base that includes the likes of Aberdeen Asset Management and Mayfair Capital Investment Management; the practice is also noted for its ‘very quick turnaround and hands on approach’ on behalf of overseas investors. ‘Particularly good’, the ‘proactive, commercial and diligentAnju Suneja acted for Helical on the letting and subsequent sale of a property unit at Fourth Avenue in Burton on Trent. Other matters saw ‘very commercial’ practice head Alex Coulter advise a joint venture of The Property Income Trust for Charities and Mayfair Capital Investment Management on the purchase of a long leasehold of Grade A office space in Nottingham from Friends Life. In a development mandate, Coulter is advising Aberafan SC Propco on its conversion of an empty office block in Port Talbot’s shopping centre into residential housing. The practice is also active on landlord work in the retail sector.

McGuireWoods London LLP noted an uptick in foreign investor work during 2016, and the practice was active across a range of asset types for international investors, including student accommodation and care homes; in one key deal the team advised Arlington Investors on the acquisition of a Jersey SPV, holding a long leasehold interest in student accommodation premises in Ipswich. Another area of strength is advising corporate occupiers: Martin Barrett assisted Blackberry with the establishment of a new UK head office at the Pearce Building in Maidenhead, and also handled a number of matters for key client Astra Zeneca. In addition, Barrett was active in the residential development sub-sector, where he represented an investment company on the proposed development and sale of two residential towers.

Memery Crystal LLP underwent some reorganisation at the top of the practice with Matthew Lindsay taking over as practice head from Eugene O’Keeffe who is now "general counsel" to the real estate team. Lindsay focuses on real estate finance, but also handles a mix of investment and development work, while O’Keeffe leads on retail development work for key client ASDA Wal-Mart. In 2016 the team was particularly active on investment deals for both domestic and international private investors and in one highlight Lindsay advised RP1 Propco on the acquisition of York Terrace East, in Regents Park. The leisure sector is another area of strength, with David O’Dwyer singled out for his ‘clear understanding of legal issues’. O’Dwyer was busy on various pub deals, including advising McGettigans Holdings on its UK opening in Fulham. In development matters, Alastair Moss assisted Fairview New Homes with its acquisition of a car park site for residential development at Park Royal, West London.

Michelmores LLP continued to handle a high volume of residential sales related to significant London projects, such as Spire London in West India Quay and the BBC Television Centre redevelopment in White City. The team was also active on a major redevelopment site disposal, with Melanie Hughes and practice head Paul Paling advising the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime on the £370m sale of New Scotland Yard (at 8-10 Broadway) to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group. While the practice is strongest in the residential sector, it is also active on landlord mandates in the retail sector; in one example, Paling and Richard Honey are advising Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association on the regeneration of the Chrisp Street Market in Poplar, East London, including assisting with new lettings, lease renewals and the termination of leases of the current retail units. Clients include Lendlease, Meyer Homes and Boultbee Brooks Real Estate.

The ‘very effective’ team at Pemberton Greenish LLP has the ‘ability to manage complex matters and transactions’ and ‘give commercial advice’. The practice is particularly known for its representation of landed estates, and in one highlight ‘very able’ practice head Jason Tann advised a client on the purchase of two distribution units in the course of development. The team also acts for a number of major developers including Helical and Native Land; Tann is currently representing Birchall Properties and Peak Worldwide on a hotel and leisure-led scheme in the Peak District. Other names to note include senior partner Robert Barham, who focuses on the residential aspects of residential and mixed use schemes, and David de Maupeou, who is a ‘master in client relationship management and a skilful negotiator’.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP provides ‘good general support on deals’ to a range of international investors and developers including Simon Property Group REIT and Hines Real Estate. Amit Unadkat heads the team, and was once again active in the hotel and leisure sub-sector, advising CRP Hotels on the sale of Bow Street Hotel to a business trading company group based in Doha. In another significant investment mandate, Unadkat advised Lee Kum Kee International Holdings on the £40m acquisition of Harbour Exchange Square in the Isle of Dogs.

Property boutique RLS Law specialises in providing ‘responsive, pragmatic, commercially-savvy advice’ to private property companies and high-net-worth individuals in mid-market transactions; in one example, the team is acting for TCN UK on the letting of offices at Assay Studios, Birmingham. The practice has a ‘number of strong individuals’, including founding member Craig Themis, who has ‘impressive technical legal skills’; the ‘exceptionally knowledgeable and experiencedJeff White; and landlord and tenant specialist David Leedham. Another key figure is founding member Julien Rutler, who is currently advising West Smithfield Developments on the conversion of a hostel in West Smithfield into luxury flats and the onward sale of the flats. In the hotel-and-leisure sector, where the team has particular expertise, senior associate and ‘rising starTom Foley is representing Flat Iron Square in relation to the granting of leases at the eponymous development. The practice is also active in the retail subsector on behalf of both landlords and tenants.

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP has a ‘large team with some very senior and experienced solicitors’ who ‘focus on getting the deal done and providing good and strategic advice’. The practice is particularly known for its expertise in hotel-and-leisure related matters, with practice co-head Sarah Hung who ‘really knows the restaurant industry’, displaying ‘great attention to detail’; and senior associate Simon Lawrence ‘highly sought after for his expertise in development and hotels’. The team was also active in the residential sector, where it advised key client Dominvs Property Developments on a number of investment and development mandates. Other key figures include practice co-head John O'Callaghan, whose ‘25 years’ experience ensure that the most complex cases proceed with speed’; and newly promoted partner Paul Cain, whose ‘knowledge in each sector is unrivalled’.

Russell-Cooke LLP’s practice is ‘commercially aware, pragmatic, efficient and provides good value for money’. The team remained active on behalf of various high profile retailers, including Sports Direct Group and Pret A Manger, and in one recent mandate Helen Edwards (who ‘gets deals done in commercial and friendly way’), advised Matalan Retail on an agreement for the lease-surrender and downsizing of a Matalan store in Sunderland. Edwards was also active in the investment sub-sector, advising a joint venture comprising RoundHill Capital and Starwood Capital Group on the £73m acquisition of student accommodation properties in England and Scotland. Howard Swindall focuses on complex development schemes and assisted Newable Property Developments on its £2.6m acquisition of a brown field site in Rainham for commercial redevelopment. The team was strengthened by a number of hires including Peter Nicholson who joined from Blake Morgan LLP. Peter Dawson heads the practice.

Seddons enjoyed strong growth in 2016, with the addition of Howard Freeman and Savvas Fiaca, who joined the firm as part of its 2016 merger with BD Laddie. The team handles development and investment mandates for a variety of development companies, private individuals and offshore entities, and in one highlight Tessa Naylor advised a property developer on the £31m sale of a portfolio of five commercial properties, comprising multi-let offices and industrial units. Head of practice Andrew Jacobs specialises in the acquisition and disposal of hotels and restaurants, as well as multimillion-pound commercial developments. Lili Davarzani is another key contact.

At Shepherd and Wedderburn, practice head Stephen Hubner has particular expertise in handling the real estate aspects of major energy projects; he recently advised Dong Energy on the landowner/occupier option and lease agreements for the onshore cable route for the Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm. In other development highlights, Sally Morris-Smith advised Fairbriar Developments Salford on its development of a residential site in Manchester. On the investment side, the team is regularly instructed by the OLIM Property portfolio, and Elaine Colville assisted said client with the sale-at-auction of Scarborough & District Bus Depot. Senior associate Fraser Grant joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Teacher Stern LLPcharges a fair fee for a fantastic work ethic’ and the team has a ‘depth of knowledge and sector experience that gives confidence when any left-field issues arise’. The leisure sector is a particular area of expertise, and the team acts on both the landlord and tenant sides. Recent matters saw Victoria Hodges advise Burger & Lobster Restaurant Group on a new restaurant letting at the W Hotel in Leicester Square. In other areas, associate Artan Llabjani is assisting the Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo with the negotiation of an embassy lease with an option to buy, and Russell Raphael is advising Sasha Traders on a mixed-use development in Belsize Park. The ‘knowledgeable and assuredEytan Weisz, along with practice co-heads David Irwin and Oliver Azzuri are all additional contacts.

Wallace LLP is an ‘enormously experienced firm when it comes to leasehold enfranchisement’, and the team has a number of specialists in this area, including Martin Otvos and Mark Randolph. The hotel sector is another strength, and in one recent highlight, practice co-head Simon Edwards and Jackie Boot advised a joint venture comprising Bespoke Hotels and a number of private investors on the purchase of various boutique hotels including the Talbot Hotel in Ripley and the White House Hotel in Dorking. In the investment sub-sector, the practice acts for a range of private investors, property groups and public companies with significant portfolios, including Soho Estates and Hays. The practice is also present on the landlord side of retail sector deals. Randolph, Otvos and practice co-head Barry Shawall provide a comprehensive and professional service’.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP’s practice takes in a number of institutional investor and fund clients such as Ropemaker Properties and Morgan Stanley, and also services energy companies such as OMV on the property aspects of energy projects. In one highlight, newly promoted partner Hetan Ganatra advised Ropemaker Properties on its £60m acquisition of an office block and surrounding development in Brentford (London), from Carlton Properties. The practice is also noted for its strength in the hospitality sector, where Felicity Jones is highly regarded for her ‘understanding of hotel franchises, management agreements and any agreement/contract relating to hotels’. Jones is advising Grivalia Hospitality on the purchase agreement for a 60% stake in the Pearl Island resort project in Panama from Dolphin Capital Investors. Gary Ritter heads the practice.

Browne Jacobson LLP is well known in the retail sub-sector, where it acts for a number of major retailers including LVMH, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Wm Morrisons. Recent matters saw Nottingham-based practice co-head Sarah Parkinson and Richard Cox advise Macintosh Retail Group on the sale Jones Bootmaker and Brantano to Alteri Partners. In the London office, practice co-head Caroline Green is the main contact.

DWF is ‘super value for money’, with Melanie Williams in particular singled out for her ‘practical, spot-on advice’; she divides her time between the firm’s Birmingham and London offices and leads on hospitality work. As well as acting for Premier Inn and Whitbread Group on the sale of freehold and leasehold land, forward funding and the development of a hub hotel at London’s King’s Cross, Williams also represented Maven Capital (Shire Hall Durham) on its acquisition and development of a Grade II listed building into a four-star 81-bedroom boutique hotel. In the London office, national head of practice Toby Askin and Lorraine Reader specialise in the retail sector and focus on advising investment and fund clients on portfolio acquisitions.

Freeths LLP’s ‘competent and reliable’ team provides ‘excellent client service’ to a mix of public and private sector clients, including London Borough of Newham and GAM. The practice was boosted considerably by a number of hires in 2016, including ‘great negotiator’ Clive Pearce, who joined from Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP; and retail specialists Jenny Cooper and Sarah Griggs, who both joined from Clyde & Co LLP. Pearce focuses on development projects but also handles investment work and is advising London Borough of Guildford on the £20m acquisition of a fully tenanted office building in Guildford. In the retail space, Cooper and Griggs act for various luxury retailers such as Hotel Chocolat and the PVH Group. The practice is led by Ian Rowson, who has ‘an ability to eloquently explain complex matters’.

Glovers Solicitors LLP’s ‘reactive and available’ team often handles development work for contractors such as Sir Robert McAlpine and Cove Construction; the ‘diligent and thoroughAndrew Nicklinson is currently advising the latter on a large redevelopment and associated sale of residential units involving a housing scheme in Hampshire. Nicklinson has also been active in the self-storage sector, where he continued to act for Lok’nStore and Time Investments on the acquisition of sites. In addition, the team is noted for its strong leisure practice, where restaurant operator clients include Azzurri, Nando’s and Pizza Express. Other names to note include ‘extremely swift and knowledgeable’ practice head John Barber, and retail specialist Philip Mundy, who provides ‘pragmatic legal analysis’ to retailers such as Jack Wolfskin and Wolford.

Keystone Law enjoyed considerable expansion in 2016, with a number of hires including Susan Anand, who joined from Russell-Cooke LLP and Stuart Darlington, who joined from Simkins LLP. The team remained active across a range of sectors including residential, hotel and leisure and healthcare, and in one standout mandate Shayne Foley acted for Nilerace on the £50m sale of 36 care homes. Another name to note is Lisa Raymond, who specialises in acting for retailers such as Models Own; she advised said client on various matters including the granting of a new lease at Trinity Leeds Centre.

The ‘overall level of service is very good’ at Marriott Harrison LLP, where the team remained active in the development sub-sector for clients such as British Land and Burney Group. Highlight mandates included advising Templar Commercial Property on the redevelopment of a landmark building in Bristol, and acting for RAM Capital on the redevelopment and re-gearing of Bradbeers Retail Park in Hedge End, Hampshire. The practice also has presence in the hotel-and-leisure sector where it advised on various hotel, restaurant and cinema deals, including acting for Peckham Refreshment Rooms on a lease for an adjoining unit in Peckham Rye. Names to note include ‘very helpful’ head of practice Mark Lavers, Guy Hitchin and Vivienne Elson, who shows ‘meticulous attention to detail’.

REN Legal is probably best known for its real estate private equity practice, and the team continued to act for a major real estate fund on multiple transactions during 2016. Notable deals included an investment and joint venture in relation to two designer outlet centres in France, and acting for the sellers on a sale-and-leaseback of prime office space in the City of London. Key figures include head of practice Laurence Applegate, and Emma Bucknall, who focuses on corporate acquisitions and disposals.

At RadcliffesLeBrasseur, Mark Baker was especially active in 2016; his work included advising MDDUS Property on the £29m acquisition of 50 Cannon Street, and assisting the Association of Commonwealth Universities with the re-gearing of leases at Woborn House in St Pancras. In the residential sub-sector, key figures include practice head Karen Mayne, and Philip Vickers and Ping Leung, who both joined from VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards). Clients include Nicole Farhi, Carluccio’s and Canada Life.

At VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards), head of London real estate Mark Hughes and Jon Durham focus on high value development work across a range of sub-sectors including retail, charity, healthcare and education. Durham continued to advise the Governing Body of Rugby School on the redevelopment of part of its London Estate at 4-5 Long Yard, Bloomsbury, and Hughes represented Lady Hewley Charity Trust Company on the purchase of land adjacent to Low Grange Farm in North Yorkshire with a view to development of the site. In the transactional area, the team advised the Trustees of the Frank Collins Estate on the sale of land at the rear of 11-13 Stanhope Gardens in London. Philip Vickers and Ping Leung departed for RadcliffesLeBrasseur.

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