Commercial property: investment in London
At Ashurst, the real estate team's partners are praised for being ‘technically very good, but also commercially astute’. Richard Vernon is particularly active in the corporate occupier space where the team represents both corporate and government occupiers on a wealth of matters including landlord and tenant affairs, the leasing and acquisition of headquarters, lay-out construction advice and portfolio management. Elsewhere, David Jones who was recently elected to the firm’s main global board, is a star name in the investment field where the group is routinely instructed for direct and indirect real estate investments, fund formation, joint ventures and real estate private equity, hosting a dedicated team for Asian investment into the UK, Europe and Australia. On the development front, Hugh Lumby and the ‘brilliant’ Tim Regis are both experts in major development and regeneration schemes with the team also active in respect of build-to-rent, logistics, student accommodation and transport projects. The practice works closely the firm’s finance, funds, corporate, construction, planning and environment departments and is well-equipped to advise on a range of asset classes including office, retail, residential, industrial, leisure, alternative and logistics. Another promotion of note saw Sarah Sivyour appointed to co-head of the firm’s global division for projects and real estate; her broad expertise ranges across corporate real estate acquisitions and disposals, pre-lets and development agreements.
‘The Ashurst real estate team offers a broad range of capabilities and provides sound and practical advice. The team’s strength lies in its partners who are technically very good, as you would expect, but also commercially astute.’
‘Very flexible and agile team. Will use all endeavours to get deals over the line whilst remaining disciplined and protecting client position. Always flexible in incorporating client wishes and feedback on key matters.’
‘Henry Moss is extremely bright and solution focused as well as having a great sense of humour.’
The Valesco Group
Savills Investment Management
Norges Bank Investment Management
Korea Investment and Securities
Roebuck Asset Management
Kendall Square Asset Management
DTZ Investment Management
KTB Asset Management
- Advised the Valesco Group, the London headquartered European real estate investment and asset manager, backed by Meritz Securities, one of the largest South Korean institutional investors, on the acquisition of the Finance Tower, a skyscraper located in Brussels’ CBD for €1.2bn, from Breevast and ZBG.
- Advising Invesco Real Estate on its Invesco Separate Account UK Multi-Family Allocation involving the £400m forward funding, acquisition and development of two sites in east and west Greater London at Barking Wharf and Kew Bridge comprising a total of 1,084 build to rent apartments with ancillary commercial units and residential community space.
- Acted for Tritax on the set up of a joint venture fund with Delancey, and the JV on acquisition of seven retail parks from Aberdeen Standard Life as the seed properties as well as financing for the JV.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is home to ‘an excellent team whose broad range of practice areas is covered by talented individuals’. One such name is practice head Chris De Pury; he is particularly active in investment matters, leveraging his experience in all activities from day-to-day asset management through to high-value transactions and the restructuring of UK and Europe-based assets and portfolios. The department has specialist expertise in a broad variety of assets including hotels and leisure, industrial, transport, logistics, residential, mixed-use, healthcare and student accommodation; it serves as a ‘one-stop-shop for complex developments’ including large scale multifaceted redevelopment and regeneration projects. In addition to domestic and international investors and developers, the representation of landlords and occupiers is also integral to the practice with pre-lettings particularly prevalent within the workload. Other standout names include development specialists Andrew Yates and Robert MacGregor, sales and purchases expert Claire Milton and Alan Wight, noted for his ‘depth of experience’ in landlord and tenant matters. The practice recently gained two new partners through the internal promotions of Matthew Pomfret and Ciaran Londra; other names to note at the junior end of the partnership spectrum are Liana Hewson, hailed for her ‘great brain’, as well as Emma La Wita and Chris Rowe who are both well-versed in signficant lettings.
Other key lawyers:
‘A very competent real estate practice – a leader in the market and head and shoulders above other firms.’
‘Claire Milton is very hands-on and gets the deal done. She is responsive and there for us when we need her.’
‘The property development team works very well with its colleagues in leasing which makes for a very easy approach when negotiating and documenting pre-letting as the like (where there is cross-over with ongoing construction activities). Also, the partners are very keen to receive feedback – both good and not so good – and act upon it.’
‘My go-to one-stop shop for complex developments. Expert advice in all areas from landlord and tenant, construction, rights of light, planning and state aid. Leading several strategically important and difficult development deals for us in an intelligent, thoughtful and proactive way. Always willing to go the extra mile for their client.’
‘BCLP were unwavering and invaluable throughout the COVID-19 crisis, providing spot-on advice in a situation which was changing minute-by-minute.’
Canary Wharf Group
Capital & Counties
Hines Global Reit
Transport for London
Great Portland Estates
- Advised Globalgrange, one of London’s largest privately-held hotel groups, on the highly sensitive restructuring of their £1.5bn portfolio, including a demerger and the sale of part of their hotel portfolio (the Grange St Paul’s EC4, Grange Tower Bridge E1, Grange City EC3, and Grange Holborn WC1) for c.£1bn, to Queensgate Investments.
- Advised Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield on the formation of a new partnership with a wholly owned subsidiary of the Canadian public pension fund the Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Canada’s QuadReal Property Group to deliver a £670m private rental scheme adjacent to its shopping centre in Stratford, E20.
- Advised Korean investors Hana Financial and Kiwoom on the £285m purchase of the Sanctuary Building from Blackstone, in one of the largest West End deals of 2019.
Hailed as ‘the most service-orientated firm in the market’, Clifford Chance LLP’s lawyers are praised for their ‘commercial acumen, expertise of the market and breadth of legal knowledge’. Large scale developments, including regeneration, station and infrastructure projects are a particular forte with support provided at all stages of the cycle including finance, planning and construction. The team complements its development offering via its considerable corporate occupier expertise, frequently advising occupiers and operators on the building of their own facilities in addition to representing tenants entering into pre lettings. Central London headquarter transactions and secondary market lettings are also a key focus while on the investment side, distinguished strengths include the sales, purchases and joint ventures relating to major real estate platforms and cross-border portfolio transactions. The ‘extraordinary’ Alis Pay frequently acts for new investors into the European market while Mark Payne is noted as ‘head and shoulders above practitioners at other firms’; both act on behalf of global funds, private equity houses and sovereign wealth funds. Angela Kearns is ‘quick to identify and raise commercial considerations to clients’ and Ian Painter is ‘particularly proactive’, boasting a track record in London office developments. Adrian Levy is one of the market’s most experienced names, serving as co-head of the firm’s global real estate sector.
‘The team is very knowledgeable/technical but also has a strong commercial sense with a view to get transactions closed.’
‘One always has the sense the partners know what is happening and are not just delegating.’
‘The team at Clifford Chance offers top notch legal advice – I have also found them also to be the most service oriented firm in the market. CC is our go to firm for the most complex and largest transactions where we need all hands on deck.’
‘Alis Pay is an extraordinary lawyer both in skills in client service. She is an excellent negotiator on behalf of her clients whilst always keeping her eye on getting the transaction done. We are time and time again impressed with her hard work, acumen and negating skills. She is a rare and we have been very fortunate to have her on our team.’
‘The assignments I worked on with Alis Pay and her team at CC were the most gruelling and complex of my career. I could have never imagined how pivotal a single team of lawyers could be on a transaction until we were in the trenches together – Alis tirelessly led all of us through the darkness with such poise and clairvoyance we will seek to bring Alis and her team into all of the more complex assignments we find ourselves in. Alis’s team is made up us such capable associates that we hardly could tell who was leading at any given point. It is clear that Alis is hugely respected by her colleagues and mentees.
‘The Clifford Chance property team upholds its magic circle reputation – fast, responsive, with expertly delivered advice.’
‘Mark Payne, is stand-out, and is head and shoulders above practitioners in other firms. He delivers expert advice with excellent client care.’
‘The team are highly detail oriented, pragmatic and commercial. They come up with sensible solutions to acquisition issues and raise potential future issues in a clear manner allowing us to take proactive action early.’
‘Sometimes lawyers focus too much on form and forget the substance of the matter at hand. That is not the case with Clifford Chance. They always get the big picture and provide advice accordingly.’
‘Alis Pay is the absolute stand-out. Very smart and commercial, one of best if not the best lawyer I have ever worked with.’
AIG Global Real Estate
Canary Wharf Group PLC
CK Asset Holdings
Employees Provident Fund of Malaysia
Hillwood Investment Properties
Legal & General
NorthWest Healthcare REIT
- Advised Stanhope Plc on the purchase of Building 7, Chiswick Park from fund manager Blackstone for approximately £310m.
- Advised Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on the sale of: Liberty Living Group Plc (other than Liberty Living’s Cardiff and European assets) to The Unite Group plc and the sale of Liberty Living’s Cardiff properties to the Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund for total consideration of approximately £1.4bn.
- Advising Hemisphere International Properties BV on the disposal of its pan-European (predominately logistics) portfolio through five separate asset sales with properties in the UK, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland and Croatia.
CMS has a ‘top quality team with the strength, depth and ability to handle any type of transaction’. Marie Scott, ‘excellent technically and always commercial’, is a key contact in the corporate occupier area where the team is primarily focused on the London market, handling matters such as headquarters leasing, day-to-day freehold and leasehold portfolio management and exit strategies. Development is also a front on which the department excels, handling multi-faceted developments and major regeneration projects including those in the mixed-use, retail, residential and alternative asset sectors. As for investment work, the group supports co-living and co-working providers, domestic and international institutional investors, major property and technology companies and private equity investors on the full range of relevant transactions, across all forms of property assets. Ciaran Carvalho, ‘leads deals in an effective and fair manner’; he heads the practice which is closely aligned with the wider firm’s planning, construction, environment, tax, environment and residential enfranchisement departments. His team also include Mark Heighton who has ‘an unrivalled sixth sense about commercial property transactions’.
‘Professional, client-centric, sound advice on point from corporate real estate partners and associates alike.’
‘CMS value us a client and make sure that we are given very good quality service. They are able to bring in experts from other areas of practice as and when necessary.’
‘Real strength and depth. It is a very large team and has not only great resources but also strength in each real estate sub-discipline. It can cater for all types of transaction and provide project management support too.’
‘Ciaran Carvalho brings gravitas and leads deals in an effective and fair manner.’
Aberdeen Standard Investments
AXA Investment Management
Black Mountain Partners
Union Investment Real Estate GmbH
- Advised real estate investment manager DTZ Investors, in partnership with co-living developer The Collective, on the structuring, launch of and first acquisition for the world’s first fund to buy and build co-living accommodation in London.
- Advising Aberdeen Standard Investments on the sale of approximately £250m of assets over a range of sectors, including London offices, industrial units, retail parks, shopping centres and portfolio transactions.
- Dealing with the majority of the management of NewRiver’s real estate portfolio including 23 shopping centres, 28 retail parks and 660 pubs.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
The commercial property team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is ‘a safe pair of hands for large, high-profile, complex transactions’ and is ‘well-integrated with the firm's tax and corporate’ practices. Global department head Jeremy Walden ‘provides an exceptional individual service’, with a broad practice which sees him represent private equity investors, listed vehicles, sovereign wealth funds and family offices in joint ventures, structured acquisitions and disposals and asset management. Elsewhere, Donald Rolands is ‘a standout player in his field’; together with Richard Forsdyke he frequently acts on large-scale multi-phased developments in the UK and EMEA. Paul Chases counts sovereign wealth funds, high-net-worth individuals and pension funds among his clients while Shona Grey is well-regarded for private equity investments. For corporate occupier affairs, Nick Turner is a distinguished name, providing a ‘clear commercial understanding’ to both landlords and tenants. Regeneration work is also a core pillar of the practice, as are planning, construction, finance and corporate real estate activities.
‘Very consistent across the board and capable of providing a good breadth of services. A lot of experience and depth in all real estate elements.’
‘Extremely commercial in their approach. Have a strong inclination toward problem solving. Jeremy Walden leads the team well and is capable of unlocking difficult impasses and finding solutions. Jeremy’s strong connections can also benefit clients in complementary ways.’
‘HSF have been one of our longstanding trusted advisers for many years. They have a great understanding of our market and are always happy to share their legal know-how and insights to assist our business. The team has great strength and depth and is able to respond quickly to our needs and always happy to assist.’
‘I value the personal touch that HSF bring with regular updates via phone and meetings in person (when permitted!). They take the time to check in and really understand the business.’
‘The team is fully dedicated to the service and you receive results as soon as possible, no matter what time of day it is. You are given the sense of priority whilst you know your lawyers are providing the same exceptional service to many other clients at the same time. The firm has exceptional experience to draw upon in almost any scenario so you are well catered for.’
‘Jeremy Walden is clearly managing a huge operation but still manages to provide exceptional individual service to his clients. He is a relationship partner that stays fully involved in the work-streams which is a valued attribute.’
Aberdeen Standard Investments
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Allianz Real Estate
- Advised Blackstone and M7 Real Estate on a number of acquisitions of last mile logistics properties for Blackstone’s urban warehousing fund, Mileway.
- Advised the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers, on the creation of a ‘build-to-rent’ (BTR) residential property joint venture with Long Harbour, a UK real estate and asset-backed investment manager specialising in the BTR sector.
- Acted for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield on all real estate aspects of its joint venture with Canadian public pension fund PSP Investments and global real estate company QuadReal Property Group, to form the “Cherry Park Partnership”.
Linklaters LLP has ‘the breadth and depth within its practice to advise on extremely complex real estate transactions’. The team is led by Andy Bruce, an ‘expert in understanding the issues at play on deals’; his practice spans the acquisition, development, letting and disposal of all forms of commercial real estate, both in the UK and Europe. A further key name is Patrick Plant, he is well-versed in representing both landlords and tenants and is recommended by clients for his capacity to ‘offer tailored solutions that fit the bill’. The ‘superb’ Tom Watkins handles joint ventures and restructuring while a further integral component of the offering is high-value regeneration work.
‘A really collegiate team that supports each other and clients in getting transactions over the line in both an expertly professional and pragmatic way.’
‘Andy Bruce is expert in understanding the issues at play on deals and navigates those through using legal and commercial levers to achieve outstanding results on transactions.’
‘Linklaters has the breadth and depth within their practice to advise on extremely complex real estate transactions. They are able to move quickly and meet the demands of any transaction.’
‘Tom Watkins is an exceptional lawyer and the best person to have “on point” to project manage complex transactions and ensure that the different work streams are delivered in the right order and on time. His advise is always of the highest quality and commercial in its application. Tom works effectively with the wider Linklaters team as we often have to draw on the other specialist teams.’
‘Tom Watkins is superb. He combines industry knowledge, technical skills and commercial acumen to deliver excellent outcomes for his clients. He is definitely the person that you want on your side of the negotiating table.’
‘The firm has a well established reputation which was something for them to live up to. I am pleased to say that they did, exceeding expectations in challenging circumstances. This is clearly a well run business which remains focused on its clients’ needs.’
‘Linklaters runs a hybrid real estate and corporate practice which we use for the majority of our UK and European real estate transactions. They are also in my opinion best-in-class at having a single lead partner who is not just a “relationship partner” but truly stays across all of the various practice areas working on a single transaction and can negotiate with all the facts to hand, and indeed recall the specifics of highly technical advice received from colleagues to really pull the deal together. To have one team that can bring this consistency of approach seamlessly across the many different country legal regimes in Europe is, in my experience, exceptional.’
‘Tom Watkins is highly intelligent, commercial, and makes it his business to fully understand all advice being given by different practice areas within Linklaters to ensure he always advises with all possible considerations to hand. Most impressive of all is his ability to mentally track in real time the implications of any given negotiating point and the impact that will have across a suite of transaction documents. In my experience this is a rare skill for a partner managing a large team and demonstrates the commitment he personally makes to a transaction. Tom is also very affable and a pleasure to work with, which makes a difference.’
Permodalan Nasional Berhad / Employees Provident Fund
Round Hill Capital
CBRE Global Investors
- Advised PNB-Kwasa International 2 Limited, a joint venture between Permodalan Nasional Berhad and Employees Provident Fund, on the £1.583bn acquisition of the commercial assets comprised within Phase 2 of the wider seven-phase Battersea redevelopment project, being one of London’s largest and most anticipated redevelopment sites.
- Acted for TIAA on the €625m sale of 25% interest in Cityhold Office Partnership.
- Acted for Lendlease on the entry into a 50/50 joint venture with Starwood and the subsequent acquisition by that joint venture of a 100% interest in the Silvertown Partnership which holds an interest in Silvertown Quays, an urban renewal project in East London.
An ‘exceptionally talented team from top to bottom’, Mayer Brown International LLP represents major private equity funds and UK property companies on complex development projects as well as high-value investment and corporate real estate transactions. A distinguishing feature of the practice is its emphasis on cross-border transactions for overseas investors, particularly in relation to outbound Asian clients purchasing London-based assets. Japan and China are key jurisdictions for Martin Wright, while Jeremy Clay demonstrates a track record of representing major financial institutions. Additional names to note are Iain Roberts, a mixed-use development expert and Caroline Humble, ‘an outstanding individual who is incredibly bright yet fiercely commercial’. On the corporate occupier side, the group represents both landlords and tenants on a range of high-value leasing transactions; examples include headquarter relocations, post property acquisition leasing transactions and the management of portfolios and mixed-use schemes. Asset expertise includes data centres, residential, office, retail, restaurants, industrial parks and hotels. Chris Harvey handles both development and investment transactions with clients describing his service as 'top notch'.
‘The team is exceptionally talented from top to bottom. It is obvious they communicate well and tasks are divided out appropriately. Most importantly, the team is commercially minded and always focused on my objectives.’
‘Caroline Humble is an outstanding individual, incredibly bright yet fiercely commercial.’
‘Chris Harvey and his team were top-notch from beginning to end. Chris and his team were able to offer us advice literally around-the-clock given that we are based in Hong Kong while him and his team (and the deal) are based in London. Chris and team held everything together – this was our first major commercial deal, and Chris and his team provided valuable advice and guidance in the process. Chris already came highly recommended from previous investment partners and associates we have worked with and this deal just proved exactly why.’
‘The strengths could almost take up a whole page if I were to elaborate. Two of my most treasured capabilities – their commercial sense and their readiness to assist you whenever you need them.’
Gaw Capital Partners
The British Land Company plc
Chuang’s China Investments Limited
Crosstree Real Estate Partners
K&K Properties Limited
Cabot Properties, Inc.
- Advised Wing Tai on its acquisition (and financing) of the units in the jersey Property Unit Trust that owns 8 Salisbury Square, London, for £220m.
- Advised K&K Property Holdings on the purchase of Orion House, 5 Upper St Martin’s Lane, for £130m.
- Advised Gaw Capital, representing a Korean real estate investment trust comprising a small consortium of institutional Korean investors, on the sale of all of the issued units in the Waterside Holdings Unit Trust.
Clients praise Addleshaw Goddard's team as ‘truly incredible in working together to find a full solution’. Adrian Collins gears his practice towards infrastructure, education, health and housing projects; he recently succeeded the ‘hands on’ and ‘fully committed’ Leona Ahmed as department head; she remains an active member of the team, directing particular attention to inbound investment from Asia and the Middle East. In the corporate occupier space, the team frequently advises on high-profile locations in London, including key landmarks, and prides itself on representing newcomers to the local market. As for development work, regeneration and matters with a cross-border work are particularly key, with the core real estate investment offering supplemented by corporate and funds specialists. Among others, clients include leading UK asset managers, REITs and a large number of overseas investors. The practice gained two partners in recent months through the arrivals of Frances Richardson and Rachel Orton from Linklaters LLP and Squire Patton Boggs respectively.
‘This is one good team – they are highly ethical and really put their heart and soul into the shoes of the client.’
‘The team is well resourced and enjoyable to work with. The can work to very quick timescales and provide very good value for money for the work they do. They are very good a breaking down a transaction and identifying risks.’
‘They are highly co-operative and matter of fact. I know I can trust them and they aren’t afraid to tell me bad news. Chris Cartwright is an excellent lawyer and great at carving through complex tenure arrangements you see in Central London.’
‘Proactive and client-centric approach.’
‘William Boss is strong on client relationship management.’
‘Lee Sheldon is pragmatic and responsive.’
‘Their team of lawyers are incredible in truly working together as a true, full solution. Each scope of vertical expertise is in-depth, timely and very attentive. As a client I had to deal with an extremely complicated situation; without Addleshaws, the deal would have failed long ago. Leona Ahmed and Lee Sheldon were world class and their advice was pivotal all along the way. They also made themselves fully available at all times and this itself was vital to an overseas client in a different time zone. Truly selfless lawyers.’
Singapore Press Holdings
HSBC Alternative Investments LImited
Aberdeen Standard Investments
GR Property Limited
KTB Asset Management
- Advised Battersea on the £1.583bn acquisition by a joint venture (formed between Permodalan Nasional Berhad and the Employees Provident Fund) of the commercial assets comprised within Phase 2 of the wider seven-phase Battersea redevelopment project, being one of London’s largest and most anticipated redevelopment sites.
- Advising on the takeover of 4 Africa and South-East Asia emerging market private equity funds – renamed Neoma Africa II, Neoma Africa III, Neoma South East Asia II, Neoma Private Equity IV.
- Advised key client Dandara on the sale of a portfolio of UK build-to-rent assets to German investor ECE for a purchase price in excess of £400m.
The real estate practice at Allen & Overy LLP is home to a team of ‘very knowledgeable and rounded partners’. For investment work, the team is highly regarded for its advice on the buying, selling and lease-back of assets in addition to cross-border transaction structuring and the establishment of investment vehicles. Practice head Imogen Moss brings distinguished expertise in relation to complex offshore structures and joint ventures and also specialises in major headquarter lettings; her team works closely with the wider firm's construction, planning and litigation specialists to support at all stage of development projects. Christopher Woolf, vastly experienced in UK and European investments, is noted for offering 'innovative solutions' while counsel Emma Willoughby's broad practice which spans the retail, office and industrial sectors.
‘The team is differentiated by their deep knowledge of all real estate aspects. The team is highly attentive and available to manage fast moving situations. The team is well tied into different constituencies of London’s real estate market.’
‘Imogen Moss is a dealmaker who is passionate to help her clients succeed at every turn. She is able to assess and give sage advice on the largest of issues, and equally able to go deep on any detail that arises. She has a deep bench of loyal team members working for her.’
‘A great firm, with competitive pricing compared to some of the other big names. Very knowledgeable and rounded partners. Very good integration across the various disciplines, with the ability to come across as a one-stop shop.’
‘Nick Saner and Chris Woolf are both fantastic lawyers; very commercial and interested in coming up with innovative solutions whilst still protecting their clients’ interests.’
- Acting for C C Land (a Hong Kong stock exchange listed property company) on its joint venture with private equity firm Meyer Bergman, for the redevelopment of the iconic Whiteleys shopping centre in Queensway.
- Advising a private equity firm on the acquisition of 60 Charlotte Street and Scala House, W1, a mixed‑use office, leisure and residential development in London’s West End.
- Advising an investment management business listed on NYSE Euronext Paris, in partnership with an investment and asset management business, on the acquisition of Euston House, London.
Baker McKenzie’s corporate occupier team, which supports clients on lease restructurings, portfolio rationalisation, transactions, asset management and developments, is geared towards representing bluechip corporates with both global and pan-European holdings. Meanwhile on the investment front, high-value inbound work continues to define the practice, with Malaysia, Hong Kong and South East Asia serving as key markets, as well as a recent uptick in instructions from Japan. Stephen Turner ‘provides an excellent worldview’ while Justin Salkeld ‘is the right man for all leisure and hotel advice; the pair jointly head the department which includes the ‘excellent’ Ben Farnell and associate Stefanie Price, praised for her retail expertise.
‘The team are dedicated to helping their clients achieve the right outcomes. The worldwide breadth of the team provides insightful UK market knowledge that clients around the world need and appreciate.’
‘Stephen Turner continues to provide an excellent worldview.’
‘Justin Salkeld is the right man for all leisure and hotel advice.’
‘Ben Farnell is an excellent lawyer helping his clients achieve the right outcomes.’
‘Stefanie Price is a retail leader and a great help to her clients in these difficult times.’
Mapletree Property Investments
Quadrum Global Fund
Edwardian Hotels Group
CIMB Bank Berhad
Employees Provident Fund
Far East Consortium
Cancer Research UK
Intermediate Capital Group plc
- Acting for Mapletree on the acquisition of two student residences in Coventry for £96m.
- Acting as trusted advisor to CLdN Coblefret in various high value large commercial property, infrastructure and development projects.
- Acting for Quadrum on the sale of their freehold interest in 21 Dartmouth Street, currently let to the House of Commons.
The 'dynamic' team at Dentons is acclaimed as ‘exceptionally thoughtful and diligent’. Its development and regeneration group, co-chaired by Richard Budge, supports clients at all stages of projects including acquisition, structure formation, project and development management agreements. Elsewhere, the firm’s broad international footprint is particularly key in the investment space where in addition to outbound work, the team represents numerous inbound investors from jurisdictions including India, South Korea, Canada, the US and Europe. Sectors including retail, built to rent, senior living, student accommodation and the private rented sector are integral to the practice which is also well-regarded for its corporate occupier work. Rob Thompson is ‘extremely attentive’ while Deepa Deb, whose strengths include residential-led mixed use schemes, is a ‘first-rate lawyer who excels at driving transactions’. Associate Carla Revelo is also a key member of the team and is carving out a strong reputation for large-scale portfolio investments.
‘I am very impressed with the consistently high level of service I receive from partners down through the different levels in the team. They respond to emails and calls promptly and most importantly, they explain the options I have on any issues clearly, and give sound advice on the implications of following a particular route. The other strength I like is that they are always prepared to be commercial when appropriate.’
‘Rob Thompson is extremely attentive and gets the right balance between moments when detail is required and moments when we move onto the next point. He maintains a high level of service, which makes me as the client feel as though I am his number one client all the time.’
‘A dynamic and thoughtful team which understands the need for advice and recommendations – and then acting promptly on the client’s decision.’
CBRE Global Investors
DBS Bank Limited
Knight Frank Investment Management
Mayfair Capital/Swiss Life
M&G Real Estate
- Advising a well-known bank and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, London Branch on the financing of the enabling works at the Grade II listed former US Embassy on Grosvenor Square, as part of its redevelopment into an ultra-luxury Rosewood hotel by Qatari Diar.
- Advised Sports Direct on the largest ever-industrial sale and leaseback by square feet. The £120m freehold sale was the retailers 1.82sqft headquarters and distribution centre in Derbyshire.
- Acting for DBS Bank on the acquisition financing (and later refinancing) of 30 Gresham Street; a joint venture vehicle owned by Wing Tai Properties and Manhattan Garments.
DLA Piper’s team is ‘super dependable’, providing ‘practical and commercial advice’. The group serves as a ‘one-stop solution for complicated planning and development’ projects; a field in which the ‘priceless’ Jonathan Northey is particularly active, advising on all aspects of the development process and leveraging extensive experience in housing and mixed-use schemes. The firm also fields a dedicated corporate occupier group, headed by the ‘approachable’ and ‘commercial’ Paul Jayson, which represents owners, investors, operators and financial institutions. The investment practice is closely integrated with the global firm’s US, EMEA and Asia-Pacific offices and is helmed by the ‘always incisive’ William Naunton; he can be counted on for complex joint ventures, structured transactions and fund structure creations. Elsewhere, at senior associate level, Nicholas Haringman is ‘always dependable’ and Hayley Russell-White is highly rated for housing and mixed-use development projects. The team recently added to its strength in depth with the hires of Jo Owen from Proskauer Rose LLP and Katie Jacobson from Hogan Lovells International LLP.
‘Omer Maroof is an exceptional lawyer acting as an adviser in the interest of client, with the highest level of professionalism. He is always ready to investigate a topic and involve the firm to provide the best advice.’
‘A very tight property team with a good balance of experience. Able to turn instructions round quickly and offer swift and pragmatic solutions.’
‘William Naunton is the silverback gorilla of UK real estate law – but has combined it with the bedside manner of a cavapoo. Fun to work with, yet always incisive and commercial in outcomes.’
‘Paul Jayson is a great relationship partner.’
‘The DLA real estate team is both competent and transactional – they clearly understand that the parties in real estate transactions are not adversarial, and that the transaction relies on both parties coming to a legal understanding of a agreed transaction; therefore the task of the lawyers is to complete the legal formalities to close a deal already made, a fact that many lawyers forget.’
‘The team is committed to the client’s interests – even if this means not to proceed with a deal.’
AXA-IM Real Assets
LaSalle Investment Management
Harrison Street Real Estate
Barings Real Estate
Houghton Regis Management Company
Oval Real Estate
St James’ Place Plc
- Advised AXA IM-Real Assets on its agreement to take private a US REIT – NYSE listed Northstar Realty Europe.
- Advising Harrison Street Real Estate on the acquisition of five science parks throughout the UK.
- Advising Houghton Regis Management Company (a Consortium of Aviva, Lands Improvement Holdings and the Diocese of Milton Keynes) – the Master Developer, on all aspects of Linmere – a large scale, mixed-use development of 262 hectares of open fields in Bedfordshire.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher 's London office has expertise across all commercial real estate fronts including corporate and investment acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, developments and acquisition financing. Alan Samson fronts the practice, levering his distinguished expertise in supporting clients through financial hurdles. His team is geared towards representing borrowers and sponsors of transactions; it spends a significant portion of its time representing overseas investors, mainly from the US and Europe, in relation to their transactions in both the UK and abroad. Jeremy Kenley brings breadth to the practice through his specialist expertise in all aspects of real estate-related private equity, while of counsel Claibourne Harrison is an up-and-coming name for private equity transactions and real estate-related M&A.
Apollo Global Management
Cale Street Partners
Davidson Kempner Capital Management
Deutsche Bank AG
Fremont Realty Capital, LP
Investcorp Bank B.S.C.
Nuveen Real Estate
Oaktree Capital Management
Realty Income Corporation
Ark Capital Advisors (formerly WeWork Property Investors LLC)
- Advised Ark Capital Advisors on the acquisition of Film House, Wardour Street, Soho, London, as well as on the related financing from Deutsche Bank, and the occupational lease to WeWork Companies.
- Advised Realty Income Corporation, a leading US-listed real estate investment trust, on its acquisition of 12 superstores from a British Land and Sainsbury’s joint venture for £429m.
- Advised Centerbridge in the acquisition of a portfolio of nine hotels located in Belgium and France from WNE Investor S.À R.L.
The team at Goodwin is recommended for its ‘excellent knowledge of the commercial property industry and highly commercial’ service. Department head Joe Conder is a particular standout, famed for his extensive knowledge of investment-related transactions and structuring, sale and leasebacks, development funding and financing transactions. There is a strong cross-border and capital raising component to the team's workload, which spans a range of asset classing including office, retail, industrial, student accommodation, hospitality, leisure, logistics and the private rented sector. Clients include sovereign wealth funds, high-net-worth managers and a range of international funds, namely from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US. Other standout partners include James Spence and Martin Smith, praised as 'providing a consistently outstanding service'.
‘Very deep understanding of client requirements, very frequent communication – these guys are a lot of fun to work with.’
‘Excellent knowledge of the industry and highly commercial.’
James Spence and Martin Smith provide a consistently outstanding service.’
‘Very commercial and prompt to take action as necessary.’
Kennedy Wilson Europe
Medical Properties Trust
Slate Asset Management
- Advised long-standing client Medical Properties Trust on the acquisition of a corporate structure which ultimately owns a portfolio of 30 acute care hospital facilities, valued at approximately £1.5bn.
- Acted for DWS on the £600m acquisition and operator agreement of the corporate group owning and managing a portfolio of eight high end student accommodation assets across the UK from Vita Ventures.
- Advised longstanding client BentallGreenOak on the exchange of contracts on the sale of a portfolio of 42 premium logistics assets across four Western European jurisdictions (France, Spain, Italy and Netherlands) for a consideration of around €1.2bn, via a sale of a structure involving regulated and unregulated, listed and private vehicles.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP is home to a ‘wide breadth of experience and great leadership’. Danielle Martin gears her practice towards investment-related transactions, the private equity sector, portfolio sales and restructuring; she heads the practice together with Matthew James Priday whose experience spans a range of sectors though centres around industrial, logistics, hotels, the private rented sector and build to rent. Mixed-use developments and real estate finance are additional strengths for the practice which of late has seen an influx of multijurisdictional instructions from European clients in addition to instruction pertaining to the education and co-living sectors. Tim Webb departed to K&L Gates LLP.
‘The practice has a very high standard of partners who offer great commercial advice and run transactions to get the best value for us as a large PLC client. Their attention to detail is fantastic.’
‘Carol Hopper has a tremendous amount of experience and together with expertise is ideal to run large and complex transactions for best value for the client.’
‘The team has a wide breadth of experience and great leadership.’
Cromwell European Real Estate Investment Trust
Valor Real Estate Partners
Scape Student Living
Peel Logistics Partnership
- Lead counsel to Stars REI, a Chile-based property investor, on the formation of a joint venture with Trinova Real Estate and the JV’s acquisition of 33 Kingsway, WC2 from Aviva Investors for £62m.
- Acted for Meininger Hotels on two lease agreements with S Harrison Developments, a Yorkshire-based developer, for the development of two new hotels in the north of England.
- Advised the joint venture between Angelo Gordon and Trinity on the £186.5m sale of five UK science parks held by Dutch SPVs.
Lawyers at Hogan Lovells International LLP ‘provide not just legal advice, but a practical, sensible and commercial’ perspective. They support clients at all stage of development and regeneration projects including site assembly and procurement through to delivery, letting and disposal, with the capacity to call upon supplementary planning, environment and construction expertise from the wider firm. Investment also serves as a keystone of the practice with institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds, private equity houses and overseas family offices from all corners of the globe, relying on the group to support on the full cycle of asset management transactions. Jackie Newstead is reputed for joint ventures and her knowledge of the hospitality sector while Daniel Norris, recently appointed as global head of real estate, is primarily focused on developments and high-value investment transactions, both direct and indirect. Dion Panambalana’s practice is characterised by mixed-use urban and non-urban development while Gill McGreevy leverages experience in regeneration and institutional investments with strong retail sector expertise. Newly appointed UK practice head Oliver Chamberlain is highly rated for his ‘excellent balance of commerciality and legal expertise’. The group's corporate occupier work sees it represent both major landlords and leasees with household names from the media, finance, private equity and fintech sectors among the client list.
‘Strength and depth across a very well-led team. They understand the business and are able to provide not just legal advice but also practical, sensible, commercial advice.’
‘Partners through to associates are pragmatic especially during pressurised negotiations. Always proactive with advice. Personable and approachable at all times.’
‘Very commercially aware and focused. Always providing solutions.’
‘Hogan Lovells’ commercial property team provide a truly joined-up approach. They provide an end to end service of the highest level; partner led, but ably supported by the rest of the team. To a person they are commercially sound, client focused and pragmatic.’
‘Highly experienced and very personable individuals. Problem solving and creativity at the fore.’
‘Dion Panambalana is a delight to work with. He inspires confidence and is always 100% engaged in the projects he works on. He is friendly and makes working with him a pleasure never a chore.’
‘Daniel Norris’ seniority as global head of real estate does not prevent him from leading on complex negotiations and providing prompt advice to his clients. He is a straightforward negotiator and cuts to the point. I find that his approach provides for a simple solution to complex problems.’
CCLA Investment Management
LaSalle Investment Management (Coal Pension Properties)
M&G Real Estate (Prudential)
TH Real Estate
The Crown Estate
U+I Group Plc
- Advising Columbia Threadneedle on the sale of Croxley park in Watford to Goldman Sachs for £400m.
- Advising Pontegadea on the purchase of the Post Building from Brockton Capital and Oxford Properties.
- Advising British Land on the purchase of a 25% share of West One, a 92,000 sq ft mixed-use scheme on Oxford Street, W1, for £54.25m from Norges Bank Investment Management.
Jones Day comes highly recommended for development and investment matters and is distinguished via its focus on real estate private equity, REIT and banking clients. The team prides itself on its project management for large scale transactions and is home to expertise in joint ventures, corporate purchases and landlord and tenant activities. David Smith and Anna Cartwright jointly head the department, which also has the capacity to assist with finance, tax and regulatory affairs and is well-versed in relation to office, retail, industrial, hospitality and leisure assets. Alistair Grant is 'extremely responsive and knowledgeable' while of counsel Kirsty Rogerson supports development clients from site assembly all the way through to forward funding and letting.
‘Jones Day provide superb client service. They are truly focused on helping us to achieve our goals in a commercial, pragmatic and efficient manner. Their work between international offices and practices is seamless and first rate as is their business acumen, understanding of our business and technical legal ability. ‘
‘Jones Day has a strong real estate practice across Europe particularly in relation to high-end, complicated real estate development and investment work and we have undertaken large transactions with them, often on a cross border basis, in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Holland and the Netherlands. They have a real focus on efficiency whilst excelling at client service and solutions delivery.’
‘It is clear that the lawyers we work with are all pulling together as a team, rather than as a collection of individual lawyers, to provide us with top notch client service. All of the lawyers we deal with have sound technical ability but their focus on working seamlessly together across practices and offices is second to none and marks them out as a firm focused on first rate client service. A number of individuals are seen as trusted advisers to us because of their business understanding and not just legal ability.’
‘Alistair Grant is well known and liked in the sector, understands the market very well, is commercial, pragmatic and solutions oriented and is essentially a trusted adviser to our business. He has helped navigate us through many large mandates.’
‘David Smith who is incredibly experienced in high-end, complicated investment and development matters.’
‘Alistair Grant is extremely responsive and knowledgeable.’
ARA Asset Management
CBRE Global Investors
CIT Real Estate Partners
Cortland Real Estate Partners
Greystar Real Estate Partners
Hansteen Holdings PLC
Henderson Park Real Estate Fund
Henley Real Estate
Meyer Bergman, Ltd.
Oxenwood Real Estate
Pictet Alternative Advisers
- Advised Goldman Sachs and The Wellcome Trust in relation to the £4.66bn sale of the IQ Student Accommodation portfolio and business to Blackstone.
- Advised Delancey and APG in relation to their competitive bid for the purchase of the Earls Court Site, and the ultimate purchase thereof for £425m.
- Advised Hansteen Holdings PLC on the £500m recommended cash acquisition of Hansteen by Potter UK Bidco Limited, a newly-formed company indirectly owned by investment funds advised by affiliates of The Blackstone Group Inc.
On the development front, Macfarlanes LLP handles a range of projects including commercial, standalone residential and mixed-use schemes. Led by Anthony Burnett-Scott, the team is particularly knowledgeable of the public rented sector and undertakes a broad range of investment-related transactions, including those pertaining to hospitality assets. Commercial office lettings and asset management are further strengths for the group which is able to call upon the vast experience of Ian Nisse, a senior consultant who is well-versed in the structuring and financing of joint ventures, investment transactions and development projects. Another name to note is regeneration and mixed-use development expert Nick Barnes.
‘Clear and concise solution-driven advice delivered in a timely manner and focused on the client’s business needs, all within a reasonable price, something which is difficult to find in the market today.’
‘The team makes a real effort to understand the business landscape in which the client operates.’
‘A formidable team of lawyers with robust technical ability.’
‘Anthony Burnett-Scott is always accessible and a pure pleasure to work with. One to never over-promise, Anthony is realistic about delivering the right advice within a realistic time frame and is honest about that. A level of honesty that clients highly prize. Anthony is also perceived to be a leader in progressing support initiatives for BAME and LGBTQ lawyers, making him attractive to clients who are likewise looking to amplify these initiatives within their own structures.’
‘Anthony Burnett-Scott is a very safe pair of hands and a good negotiator.’
‘Macfarlanes has great in-depth knowledge of the market.’
‘Clare Breeze is very good at relationship-building, both with her clients and with the counterparty which makes negotiations collaborative and run smoothly.’
‘Dan Marriott is quick and capable and technically exceptionally strong, but also a good communicator and commercially astute. He is very available to his clients and is fully engaged with matters that his team are dealing with. It is clear that he mentors and supervises his team well, which is reflected in their performance.’
Legal & General
Supermarket Income REIT
WeWork Property Investors
- Advised Integrity International Group on the acquisition of the iconic, Grade I-listed 55 Broadway from Transport for London for a consideration in excess of £120m.
- Advised Twenty14 Holdings, the hospitality investment firm based in Abu Dhabi, on the acquisition of the Great Scotland Yard Hotel in London’s Westminster from British developer Galliard Homes for circa £110m.
- Advising private rented sector investor Realstar on the growth of its UK portfolio, to be operated under Realstar’s UNCLE brand.
Maples Teesdale LLP is a ‘specialist real estate firm of lawyers, made up of experts in their field’. Roger Thornton, who ‘ensures good client liaison’, specialises in investment sales and purchases, representing institutional investors and pension funds, among others. Neil Sagoo is a key contact for corporate occupier matters, specialising in headquarter and other business-critical relocations, with a strong reputation for acting for foreign embassies. Elsewhere, the ‘calm and methodical’ Declan Power leads on the development front, specialising in retail, office, mixed-use, industrial and distribution projects.
‘Declan Power is very calm, methodical and contactable.’
‘This real estate-only practice is very commercially focused.’
‘A solid, property focused law firm. They take time to understand our requirements and way of working. A close knit, focused firm. Partners are more available to us than at other firms.’
‘Excellent to work with; proactive, commercial but providing safe advice too. It has been a pleasure working with them, even in lockdown.’
Their lawyers listen to the needs of the client. Seek advice when appropriate and convey quality advice to the client in an easy to understand manner.
‘Strength in depth across every real estate sector. They are also a well joined-up and cohesive unit, and have been a pleasure to work with on recent transactions.’
‘Roger Thornton maintains involvement and ensures good client liaison and high levels of advice.’
Aberdeen Standard Investments
BMO Real Estate
CBRE Global Investors
CLS Holdings plc
Legal & General
Lloyds Banking Group Plc
Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc
City of London Corporation
Tristan Capital Partners
JR Capital & Chancerygate MLI Fund
- Advising Patrizia on a number of funds and sales, including on the off-market sale of Abingdon Business Park in Oxfordshire, on behalf of its UK Value 2 fund, to Royal London Mutual Insurance Society for £61m.
- Advised Martin’s Properties Holdings Limited, a property investment and development company based in Central London, operating throughout the South of England, on a financing deal with Canada Life Investments, providing a £30m fixed rate loan expiring in 2034 at a highly competitive rate.
- Advised Legal & General on the sale of the Sainsbury’s on Tewkesbury Road, Cheltenham, to Supermarket Income REIT for £60.4m.
Mishcon de Reya LLP hosts a ‘great, practical team, which gets deals done’. Headed by acquisition and sales expert Nick Doffman, the practice serves as a one-stop-shop for development and investment work with the ability to call upon dedicated teams for planning, construction, real estate tax and finance. Stephen Hughes is a key name for portfolio transactions, joint ventures and structuring, with the team also concentrated on inward investment matters, especially those coming from the Far East. A key differentiator is the firm's dedicated asset classes group which holds expertise in respect of the build to rent, student accommodation and senior living sectors.
‘The team has an entrepreneurial focus – there is absolute understanding at partner level of our business aims and what we are aiming to achieve commercially.’
‘One of the things I like most about working with this team is the consistency of who works on our deals. We aren’t dealing with a new associate every other day, like in many large firms.’
‘Simon Hart is excellent. He is practical, responsive and knows how to move a deal toward exchange/completion. He has great deal acumen and is in tune with what is going on in the overall market.’
Brookfield’s ‘Student Roost’
Delancey, APG, Qatari Diar (QDD) and Oxford Properties joint venture
Capital & Counties Properties plc (Capco)
Olayan Group (Knightsbridge Estate)
The Office Group
PGIM Real Estate Finance
Derwent London Plc
Trophaeum Asset Management
- Advised Chelsfield on the major development adjacent to Knightsbridge tube station known as the Knightsbridge Estate, K-1.
- Advised Brookfield-owned Student Roost on the forward-funding of three new student accommodation schemes in a series of deals with developer McLaren Property worth a combined £175m
- Advising long-standing client, Capital & Counties CG Limited, in relation to its Covent Garden portfolio, worth £2.6bn, including general landlord and tenant work, acquisitions and real estate litigation.
The team at Norton Rose Fulbright is praised for its ‘outstanding reactivity, expertise and client orientation’, and is particularly highly rated for inward investment, financing and long-term development and infrastructure projects. Its core real estate expertise is enhanced by close integration with the conveyancing, planning, corporate and fund structuring, construction, tax and financing departments, drawing on the firm’s expansive global footprint. David Hawkins, recommended for his ‘excellent teamwork’, represents numerous international investors whereas David Sinclair thrives in relation to office, hotel and shopping centre projects. Practice head Wasim Khan has a focus on representing tenants moving office; his team supports landlords and tenants at each stage of the letting process including occupational requirements, pre-letting negotiations and refurbishment contracts. Counsel Louisa Roe is particularly active in the letting space.
‘Outstanding reactivity, expertise and client orientation.’
‘Excellent team work from David Hawkins, David Stevens and Claire Younger.’
Resolution Property IM LLP (UK)
Europa Capital (UK)
Civitas plc (UK)
Commerz Real (Germany)
Prudential plc (UK)
57 Whitehall S.à.r.l. (Old War Office) (India and Spain)
Bank ABC (Middle East)
Schroder Real Estate Investment Management (UK)
Tristan Capital Partners (UK)
HSBC Alternative Investments (UK)
Bank of Montréal (Canada)
Employees Provident Fund (Malaysia)
Orstead Energy (formerly Dong Energy) (Denmark)
Argo Group (USA)
Ashby Capital (UK)
State General Reserve Fund (Oman)
Hobart Partners (UK)
Sidra Capital (Dubai)
Ivanhoé Cambridge (Canada)
Funding Affordable Homes Plc (UK)
- Advised Civitas on a number of portfolio acquisitions in the vibrant social housing investment sector.
- Advised State General Reserve Fund on the sale of 99 Queen Victoria Street in the heart of the City of London.
- Advised Welput on the £130m sale of Orion House – one of the first major inward investment transactions announced after the December 2019 election.
The team at Paul Hastings LLP serves as a one-stop-shop for investment matters with clients noting its ‘particular expertise for corporate-based real estate transactions’. Supported by strong finance and tax expertise, the group represents a number of leading international investment firms, management companies and private equity businesses, often in relation to their big-ticket transactions. Practice head Michael James, hailed for his ‘dogged focus on optimising his clients’ interests’, is a specialist in structured transactions, joint ventures, fund investments and hotel operations. Below partner level, the firm boasts a number of well regarded associates, including Matthew Peters, who is ‘extremely diligent and technically very strong’.
‘A personal service and responsive. Ideally suited to fast-tracked and complex deal structures.’
‘Matthew Peters has a detailed understanding of the legal documentation on complex overseas deals, making the decision-making process easier for clients and other consultants working on projects.’
‘The Paul Hastings team is very motivated, energetic and capable. The team fosters close collaboration with their clients and client service is clearly something the practice focuses on. I believe that Paul Hastings is as energetic and motivated to do a good job for their clients as any other legal firm in the UK.’
‘Matthew Peters is a extremely diligent associate, managing processes well.’
‘Michael James has a dogged focus on protecting and optimising his clients position.’
‘We have worked with Paul Hastings on a number of deals over the past year and in every case the team have been a pleasure to work with. Paul Hastings have been extremely user-friendly, answering queries and recommending us well. The Paul Hastings team are diligent, hard working and communicate well, keeping us up to date with where we are with documents and deadlines.’
‘Matthew Peters has worked with us on a number of deals including refinance, acquisition and sales as our main point of contact. Matt is extremely hardworking and knowledgeable allowing him to provide high quality advice. This enables us to respond quickly and take the initiative in the transaction which has been key.’
‘Best-in-class real estate lawyers. Unrivalled for quality of work in terms of any legal real estate practice in Europe. Technically in a different league to other law firms we work with.’
‘Michael James is in my opinion the best real estate lawyer in Europe. Technically excellent, and tactically very strong in negotiations.’
‘Matthew Peters is great to work with, technically very strong, very level headed when it comes to negotiations.’
‘Stephen Nicolas is very strong tactically in negotiations.’
‘Very commercial and knowledgeable about the market. Very committed team.’
‘Stephen Nicolas is incredibly hardworking and tenacious in accomplishing tasks to an excellent standard. He also exhorts all members of the wider teams (buyer and seller and advisers) to progress projects to completion in a timely manner.’
Evans Randall Investors
- Acting for Starwood Capital Group on the acquisition of a £200m portfolio of ten light industrial units across the UK from an institutional client of Barings.
- Representing Starwood Capital on its disposal of 12 full-service hotels forming part of the Principal Hotel Company to FdM, for a purchase price in excess of $1.1bn.
- Representing Highgate Hotels on the $500m sale and purchase of the pan-European Highgate “K+K” hotel portfolio to Interglobe.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Pinsent Masons LLP caters to a broad client base which encompasses investors, institutions, commercial and residential developers, housebuilders, retailers and local authorities, among others. Under the leadership of Claire Hughes, who has particular knowledge with regards to hotel and leisure assets, the team notably represents a number of European and Middle Eastern investors and demonstrates a proven track record in high-profile London developments. Asset management, infrastructure projects and structuring work are also key to the department, which possesses a strong focus on the alternatives sector, including purpose built student accommodation and retirement living, in addition to the residential market. The team’s regeneration capabilities were recently boosted by the transfer of Natalie Harris from the firm's Leeds office.
‘They provide a complete, joined-up, well coordinated and efficient service and their work is accurate. They also avoid the practice of many of the big law firms of overlawyering their drafting.’
‘Mike Reid is an exceptional lawyer. He drafts accurately, and makes deals happen. He and his support team also cover all the detail of a deal and follow up until al is properly concluded.’
‘I have worked with Richard Lloyd for a number of years and have always found him commercial, pragmatic and attentive. I would – and do – recommend him to anyone.’
‘Claire Hughes is hugely supportive. She drives the team approach and adds huge value to our team.’
Royal London Asset Management
Legal & General
AXA Real Assets
Capital & Counties Properties plc
The Portman Estate
Abstract Securities Group
Ministry of Defence
Kier Property Developments
William Pears Group
Telereal Trillium (Land Improvement Holdings)
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Anglo American plc
Urban & Civic
LaSalle Investment Management
iQ Student Accommodation
Melia Hotels International
- Leading on the provision of real estate advice in connection with the refinancing of the Blue Fin Building in Southwark, a 13-storey multi-let office building.
- Advising Aviva Investors on the acquisition and funding of a 22-storey Aparthotel in Whitechapel.
- Acting for Sonder Europe Limited in relation to its acquisition of various hotel properties in prime London locations, including Kensington.
Slaughter and May
The team at Slaughter and May ‘demonstrates an excellent combination of attention to detail, commercial acumen and an understanding of client needs’. On the occupier side, the group enjoys a strong reputation for headquarter developments and relocations with clients also noting its prowess for ‘large HQ pre-letting transactions across central London’. Meanwhile, in the investment arena, the team handles all forms of direct and indirect investments with large, multi-party portfolio deals and matters with a cross-border component notably prevalent. Also ‘exceptionally capable at navigating developments’, the team is set apart through its expertise in major projects in the sports sector in addition to its hands-on project management. Practice head Jane Edwarde is a ‘powerhouse in the development market’ while John Nevin’s ‘attention to detail and the market is first-rate’. At the junior end, senior counsel Simon Bartle has ‘an exceptional ability to work through complex scenarios’.
‘The team have an in-depth understanding of us as the client, our operations and our mission. They give honest advice and not just what we want to hear. They fully understand our governance process and therefore ensure their approach is appropriate.’
‘An incredibly focused team that somehow manage to cover all issues at all times of the day or night. Great capabilities in real estate but boosted by superb backup on corporate, tax, construction and litigation. Strong positive approach to problem-solving and never shy away from talking to other lawyers to resolve issues which some of their competitors are more reluctant to do.’
‘Despite the team’s achievements, there is an element of modesty in their approach to projects. This is vital in key legal negotiations, where egos between individuals can all too often override commerciality and clients’ interests.’
‘John Nevin is exceptional. Sound advice with commercial good sense, often on short notice. I would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone.’
‘John Nevin displays excellent expertise and initiative.’
‘Simon Bartle is a ‘Welsh wizard’ – he balances a forensic eye for detail and great technical ability with a broad commercial awareness. One of those lawyers you’re always grateful is working for you rather than against you he is someone able to think on his feet, identify problems before they arise and provide innovative solutions to them, all the while retaining a calm and unflappable demeanour.’
‘Jane Edwarde is a powerhouse in the development market, giving straightforward practically orientated advice with an engaging negotiation technique.’
‘Mark Gulliford and Jane Edwarde are the best solicitors I have ever worked with. Slaughter and May have supported us through the largest property transaction and project in our company’s history. They are more cost-effective than some other mid-tier firms, as they do things once and do it right.’
Global Infrastructure Partners
Legal & General
Midlothian Capital Partners
NTT Urban Development Corporation
- Advised ITV on the sale of its former headquarters, the London Television Centre on the South Bank, to Mitsubishi Estate London for £145.6m.
- Advising Legal & General on a new 10-year partnership with Oxford University to deliver housing and academic facilities for the University, which will also provide investment assets for Legal & General funds.
- Advising Derwent London on the pre-letting of Soho Place, a 285,000 sq.ft. development above the Tottenham Court Road Elizabeth Line station.
Taylor Wessing LLP’s client list spans developers, investors, funders, occupiers and owners which is advises on urban regeneration projects, investment sales and purchases, both of individual assets and portfolios, as well as asset management. A key focus is the representation of Asia, Gulf and US-based investors, with core sectors including co-living residential, logistics, stadia and student accommodation. In addition to property companies, practice head Keith Barnett has also carved out a reputation in acting for banks and financial institutions. In a notable development, Matthew Swainston, the former practice head at Forsters LLP, joined in February 2020.
‘Saleem Fazal is an excellent partner, with considerable experience.’
‘Saleem Fazal is experienced, able and has a very good manner with clients.’
‘Mark Rajbenbach is a trusted adviser who brings great experience in the real estate and hotel industries. He is a first-rate lawyer, on top of all the details, but is also able to step back and provide the commercial and strategic advice that we need as clients.’
City Pride Limited
InfaRed Capital Partners
Secure Income REIT
Tritax Big Box REIT
Vivion Capital Partners
Invesco Asset Management Limited
- Advising Vivion Capital Partners on the simultaneous acquisition of Silver and Zinc portfolios.
- Advising Invesco Real Estate on the €313m acquisition and leaseback of three Lisbon hotels, marking its entry into the Portuguese hotel market.
- Advising Try Market Halls, a group of UK-based property investors and restaurateurs, on their upmarket food halls scheme across London and the UK.
Boodle Hatfield LLP has a strong focus on work for private capital-backed entities, including family offices, private funds and high-net-worth individuals. The team places a heavy degree of emphasis on mixed-use developments and investments in addition to residential projects. Led by Simon Williams, who is a specialist in the retail, leisure and hotel sectors, the team is also active in terms of handling lettings, disposals and acquisitions pertaining to major portfolios, working in collaboration with the firm’s real estate litigation, construction and finance teams. Another standout name is Caroline King; she is particularly highly rated for major urban regeneration schemes and joint venture work.
‘They are efficient, clear-thinking and provide practical solutions to problems. Always responsive and inspire confidence.’
‘Andrew Wilmot-Smith always comes up with a solution. I never worry about whether he has missed something.’
‘The prestige of their name continues to be deserved as the service is always attentive.’
‘Their advice is always well grounded and easily understood.’
‘Dennis Ko particularly provides a personal service and understanding of our business needs.’
‘Dennis Ko works hard to ensure that once agreed a sale progresses.’
IBM UK Pensions Trust Ltd
Black Pearl Limited
Berry Brothers & Rudd
Harcourt Investment Limited
Led from the firm's Bristol headquarters, Burges Salmon LLP’s service is distinguished via its ‘strength in depth, responsiveness and desire to understand the client’. For investment work, the team works closely with the wider firm's corporate practice to support major investment managers, investment funders and landowners on high-value investment acquisitions and disposals, structuring and asset management. In the development space, key differentiators include the team’s focus on nuclear, renewables and other energy-related projects in addition to those pertaining to transport. Expertise spans office, retail, industrial, mixed-use and leisure assets; the group is also well-versed in acting for rural estates. Richard Clark, hailed as ‘the perfect client partner’ leads the department alongside Richard Read who represents high profile investors and occupiers based both in the UK and abroad. Their team also comes recommended for landlord and tenant work such as lease negotiations and terminations, headquarter moves, sale and leasebacks, exit strategies and rent reviews.
Other key lawyers:
‘Dedicated team members who have a thorough understanding of the client’s strategic and commercial objectives to guide their approach to the project/transaction and negotiations. They utilise the latest technology providing real time information, transparency and efficiency. They are experienced in dealing with third party stakeholders including regulatory bodies with established relationships, ensuring consideration of external factors and early engagement. Personable, collaborative and exceptionally commercial.’
‘They focus on getting to know the in-house legal team and other business area managers; their strengths, capabilities and preferred way of communication and collaboration.’
Bridges Fund Management
London & Regional Properties (L&R) – Atlas Hotels
Darwin Leisure Development Fund
The Crown Estate
- Continued to advise leading Malaysian property developer, YTL on the development of the 354 acre Filton airfield site in Bristol.
- Advised St Modwen Properties in connection with its letting of a 150,000 sq ft unit at its ‘Access 18’ Avonmouth industrial park on a 17 year lease, to Ocado.
- Advised Bridges Fund Management on the real estate aspects of the corporate acquisition of énergie Fitness, the leading low-cost gym franchise business, including analysing residual and potential liabilities of leasehold sites within the portfolio.
The real estate practice at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is praised by its clients as a ‘thoroughly professional team which provides expertise guidance’. The team is active in terms of corporate occupier work, handling lettings, disposals, acquisitions, relocations, exit strategies and a broad range of portfolio management, both for UK assets and those abroad. The investment-related workload includes high-value investment transactions, joint ventures, financing and tax-efficient structures with the firm’s offices in Hong Kong, the Middle East and across the EU, giving it an edge in acting for international private and institutional investors. Development and regeneration work also serve as keystones of the practice with the team able to call upon both planning and construction expertise to advise all stages of projects from site acquisition and planning through to letting and disposals. Lee Medlock leads the department, which gained two new partners over the past year through the promotions of Alexander Gold and secured lending expert Eddie Richards. Sector expertise includes sports, leisure, retail, food and beverage in addition to private wealth and charities.
‘A very strong team, down to earth, great communicators – they work as a team and are experienced. No time wasted and very efficient.’
‘Lee Medlock has great experience in real estate law but is also a pragmatic businessman. He is well liked and connected and respected. I find I get full support from Lee on all aspects – this gives us great confidence.’
Aberdeen Standard Investments
BioMed Realty L.P
Caring Homes Group
Stonegate Pub Company
David Lloyd Leisure Limited
Howard de Walden Estate Limited
National Museum for the Royal Navy
City of London Corporation
The Church Commissioners
- Advised London & Oxford on a number of its property investment transactions, including three City of London office acquisitions and one Canary Wharf office acquisition all of which are valued at in excess of £100m.
- Advised Derwent on the sale of 40 Chancery Lane to a Deka Immobilien fund for a headline price of £121.3m.
- Advised Lum Chang Holdings on the purchase, and then sale of part of Kelaty House for a JV between two Singaporean listed property companies, with a deal value of £200m.
Clyde & Co LLP is recommended by clients due to its ‘ability to mould the strict legal position into practical commercial advice’. The department is jointly headed by Graeme Taylor, who advises on disposals, lettings, acquisitions, development and joint ventures, along with Martin Quicke, whose practice is geared towards urban mixed-use regeneration projects. The team represents a number of investors from Hong Kong and South East Asia while employing the firm’s planning, finance and tax departments to advise on the full life cycle of projects. Particular emphasis is placed on public sector driven schemes with key asset classes spanning office, leisure, retail and residential.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent advice coupled with good response times and value for money.’
‘The team have the ability to mould the strict legal position into practical commercial advice.’
Spelthorne Borough Council
Native Land Limited
Hutchison Property Group Limited
Lai Sun Developments Limited
Urban & Civic plc
One 55 Fenchurch Limited
Connected Living Ltd (TfL/Grainger JV)
- Acted for Native Land on the acquisition and development of a residential led mixed use development of some 1.2m sq ft at the former Ludgate House/Sampson House, Blackfriars, working alongside Network Rail.
- Acting for Spelthorne Borough Council on a transaction which involved the purchase of The Charter Building in Uxbridge, The Porter Building in Slough and Thames Tower in Reading for £285m.
- Following RIU’s first property acquisition in the UK of a site near Victoria Station in London for a new hotel, the team continued to advise Hotel San Francisco (part of the RIU international hotel group) in relation to the redevelopment.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC BEACHCROFT LLP's team 'offers complete dedication, as if they were part of the client’s company’. For leasing activities, the group demonstrates a hands-on approach, helping clients to set up the right corporate vehicle for lease acquisitions, assessing the authorised planning use and assisting with operational requirements, among other affairs. The practice is praised for its ‘outstanding knowledge and understanding’ of development matters, with distinguishing features including strong strategic land expertise, delivered by the ‘superior’ Lucinda Walsh, as well as build to rent, urban regeneration, commercial development, public sector partnership and joint venture prowess. Robert Lee heads the department which also represents international, institutional and private investors and developers, particularly in relation to asset management and mixed-use schemes. Senior associate Charlotte Wilson is singled out as a ‘creative thinker’.
‘This practice has all the necessary areas of specialism. They are always available, advice is always concise, and they work well as a team.’
Paul McCartney always controls all aspects of a transaction and keeps clients up to date.’
Qatari Investment Bank
KCM Invest AG
- Advising Barrowgate Properties Limited on the sale of Telephone House, Shoreditch to Brockton Everlast and Quoinstone Investment Management.
- Advised Blackpool Borough Council on its acquisition of the 65-unit Houndshill shopping centre and large multi-storey car park from the receivers of previous owner BCC Eiffel.
- Acting for Ktesius Projects Limited in connection with a development financing facility across three of its development and investment sites.
Forsters LLP is reputed for its work on complex long-term redevelopment schemes, headquarter relocations, portfolio management, landlord and tenant matters and leasehold transfers. The team has recently gone through a period of transition, with the departure of former practice head Matthew Swainston to Taylor Wessing LLP and the arrival of Anne O’Neil from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP, where she fronted the real estate practice. She joined alongside several key members of her previous team including Andrew Denye and Sara Branch. Andrew Crabbie is now overall head of commercial real estate, while a key name to note for development projects in the logistics sector is Victoria Towers.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is engaged for a wide variety of investment-related matters; examples include acquisition and disposals of both single assets and portfolios, joint ventures and structures investments, leasing matters and property finance. Led by real estate capital markets expert Darren Rogers, the team excels in relation to all asset classes including office, retail, build to rent, mixed-use, hotels and leisure, logistics and healthcare. Cross-border work is a significant component of the practice owing to its close integration with the firm’s market leading US real estate department. Clients include asset managers, lenders, public and private companies, private equity and real estate funds, investment banks and family offices.
Other key lawyers:
‘Patrick Williams has supplied exceptional service, thorough due diligence and out of the box thinking to solve difficult issues.’
‘I really enjoy working with Fried Frank as I know that I can rely on their advice, expertise and sound approach.’
‘Darren Rogers, Patrick Williams and Devina Rana are very personable, knowledgeable and have provided clear, concise advice. They are technically very strong and also have the ability to take a commercial approach to complex subject matters.’
Invesco Real Estate
Madison International Realty
VGO Capital Partners
Aquamarine Capital Partners
SA Corporate Real Estate
Brookfield Asset Management
Jack Wills Limited (in administration) (now known as Pheasant Clothing (in administration))
- Representing Greenspruce, a managed client of Invesco Real Estate, in connection with a number of matters, including the acquisition of 399 Edgware Road in North London; and the redevelopment of Tesco Extra in Southwark.
- Represented Vintage Funds (managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management) on a co-investment transaction with Henley Asset Management to acquire two business parks in Ireland for a total enterprise value in the region of £350m.
- Advised Madison in connection with the circa £95 million disposal of its interests at Devonshire Quarter, London (part of the Houndsditch Estate), to Brockton Everlast.
Home to ‘an excellent combination of skilled technicians’, Gowling WLG's real estate practice is headed by Richard Bate; it supports clients with a range of services including the acquisition of leasehold and freehold properties, managing surplus space and portfolio management with established expertise of office, warehouse, manufacturing, retail, leisure and data centre assets. For investment, institutional investors and US private equity funds are a core strength; the group also represents sovereign wealth funds, REITs and family offices across the globe. It handles the buying, selling, letting and asset management of all asset classes including health and care and student accommodation premises. Jon Lloyd is a specialist in mixed-use projects with the team also handling regeneration and transport-related developments, among others.
‘Gowlings work very hard at relationship development. They work to understand what we want to achieve. The advice they give is an good combination of the technical and the pragmatic.’
‘They are all practically orientated with their advice which I find invaluable. Advice is tailored to the needs of the project and the client.’
The team are an excellent combination of skilled technician and friend. They want to get to know us and our roles within the business and take the time to talk to us, as well as providing first rate help and advice. The team are readily available and when they are not, their response times are first rate. They have a clear grasp on important timescales.’
Aldgate Developments Limited
BAE Systems Pension Funds
Bracknell Regenration Limited Partnership
BMW UK Trustees Ltd
Columbia Threadneedle Investments
Empiric Student Property plc
HC One Limited
Janus Henderson UK Property PAIF
LaSalle Investment Management
Legal & General
London and Strategic land
Mosley Street Ventures
Portland Capital Real Estate Limited
Rushmoor Borough Council
Stamford Land Corporation Limited
The Hut Group
Knight Frank Investment management
U and I
- Aacted for NFU mutual in conjunction with Burness Paull in relation to the tripartite funding, acquisition and development, leasing, all construction, planning and rights of light aspects of the new 70,000 sq. ft. mixed use development at The Oaks Shopping Centre, High Street, Acton, London.
- Acting on the regeneration of Bracknell town centre since 1995. It is a joint venture between Legal & General and Schroders UK Property Fund.
- Advised Aldgate Developments on the agreement for lease with British Telecommunications plc at One Braham, London E1.
K&L Gates LLP
K&L Gates LLP’s team ‘provides outstanding professional advice and is great on cross-border investment transactions’. Department head Wayne Smith places a high degree of emphasis on big-ticket investment work, including institutional investment management work; the team is also reputed for public sector-led regeneration projects. The arrivals of the ‘incredibly responsive and proactive’ Tim Webb and Emma Maher from Greenberg Traurig, LLP has significantly bolstered the team's expertise in private equity real estate. The recent corporate occupier workload has a strong cross-border component, including headquarter establishment, office acquisitions, relocation and an array of lease work.
‘The team are very attentive to details, diligent, quick and they operate with conviction.’
‘K&L Gates provides outstanding professional advice and they are great on international and cross-border transaction, they have great commercial sense, are very available and upfront in understanding client needs and anticipating problems and proposing intelligent and practical solutions.’
‘We have worked with Chiara Del Frate on a variety of matters and we appreciate her professional skills, her commercial sense and her ability of addressing and resolving complicated legal issues. She has outstanding communication skills and is a great at managing her team and relationship with counterparties.’
‘Tim Webb and Emma Maher are incredibly responsive and they are able to work at the speed that I require without compromising the attention to detail that is needed. They are proactive and manage all parties involved professionally and respectfully, but they are also able to move things forward without constantly needing to be directed by me or my team.’
Nuveen Real Estate
Aberdeen Standard Investments (ReAssure)
St James Property Investment Ltd
Investec Bank Plc
Workspace Group Plc
One New Oxford Street Limited Partnership
Vanquish Properties (UK) Limited Partnership
Hines Global Income Trust
Janus Henderson Property PAIF
The London Borough of Croydon
- Represented Vanquish Properties (UK) Limited/Nuveen Real Estate in relation to the sale of its development at 40 Leadenhall Street to M&G Prudential for £353m.
- Representing Swedish investor Akelius in relation to its real estate requirements including the acquisition of a headquarter building which is located in Clerkenwell for £17m.
- Advising Nuveen’s Central London Office Fund on the acquisition of a mixed use building on Bankside which is partly let to the Clink Street Museum.
Clients are impressed by Osborne Clarke LLP's ‘collaborative and can-do’ approach. Headed by the well-regarded Peter Day, the practice is characterised by high-end mid-market work, setting itself apart through its specialist expertise in logistics and alternative residential assets. Key types of work include portfolio transactions, developments with a mixed-use, leisure, commercial office and residential focus, build to rent projects and transactions involving industrial and logistics assets. The commercial property team is supported by first-rate retail expertise in addition to property finance, planning and litigation expertise.
‘A practical group of people who seek commercial as well as legal solutions to make deals work.’
‘They are prepared to think about deals and come up with alternatives.’
‘Osborne Clarke differentiates itself as a full service law firm that centres around real estate rather than being a commercial firm with a real estate specialism. This is extremely important for us.’
‘Osborne Clarke are extremely collaborative and ‘can-do’, in contrast to many other firms.’
‘They have a pragmatic, commercial, get-the-job-done mentality. They add value through sensible commercial advice as well as the legal practicalities better than any other firm that we have dealt with over 20 years.’
‘I have found Osborne Clarke to be extremely responsive and decisive with their advice. They are able to translate sometimes complex legal matters into clear, helpful and insightful commentary which aides the commercial decision making that follows.’
‘Peter Day has been a long time adviser to our company and consistently provides his advice in a concise and easily digestible form. He is readily available, enabling swift decisions to be reached with the minimum of fuss.’
M&G Real Estate
Warburg HIH Invest Real Estate
Nuveen Real Estate
U AND I Group Plc
Welbeck Strategic Land
Oculus Real Estate Group
AXA IM – Real Assets
BAWAG Group AG
Orchard Street IM
Warburg-HIH Invest Real Estate
- Advising Colony Capital on the acquisition of three new senior housing homes.
- Led advice to Uncommon, a new client which is a co-working business backed by private equity house Carlyle, on the £80m acquisition of Templar House in High Holborn.
- Advised U and I Group Plc on the acquisition and financing of the Waterglade Retail Park in Essex, as well as that of another shopping centre.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP is home to a ‘high quality team that always puts the client first’. It is routinely engaged for commercial, rail, industrial, data centre and mixed-use developments, deploying the firm’s construction, planning, environment, tax and finance expertise to provide a rounded service. Further breadth of practice is found in the group’s investment work which ventures beyond mainstream assets such as office, logistics, retail and leisure to also include student accommodation, elderly living and condominiums. Jimmy Theodorou heads the department; both he and senior associate Daniel Kyriakides are noted for their ‘very effective way of presenting advice’. Also integral to the practice is Brigid North, cited as ‘highly commercial with a fantastic level of technical legal knowledge’.
‘The team at Reed Smith have two unique attributes. The first one is the ability to deliver commercial, practical advice. The second, is that they deliver the advice with speed. Whatever size of the transaction, from a large asset purchase to a leasing deal on a floor in a multi-let building, the level of service, speed and advice remains intact. Impressive from beginning to end.’
‘Nav Sahota, Jimmy Theodorou and Daniel Kyriakides have a very effective way of presenting their advice, views and opinions throughout a transaction which means they generally get their way and are also able to listen to reasonable counter arguments and then provide advice based on all the facts.’
‘The team are knowledgeable about the client and client’s requirements which generally means you are given solutions rather than problems, most other firms are quick to pass the problem back to the client.’
‘Professional advice delivered in a friendly, straightforward and commercial manner.’
‘Andrew Jenkinson is an excellent team builder and problem solver.’
‘Sarah Cunningham is tenacious, organised, and develops good working relationships with lawyers on other side.’
The ‘dynamic and commercial’ team at Ropes & Gray LLP handles both the corporate and real estate components of investment matters, directing a strong degree of emphasis towards private equity work. David Seymour serves as department head, leveraging specialist expertise in joint ventures, co-investments, direct and indirect transactions, sale and leasebacks, developments, outsourcing and real estate finance. Counsel Will Bryant is an integral member of the practice; both he and Seymour are praised for their ‘excellent attention to detail and commercial acumen’. Found among the client roster are private equity, debt and sovereign wealth funds in addition to operating partners and family offices.
Other key lawyers:
‘This practice is unique in that it is truly ‘corporate real estate’. All of the individuals have a solid grounding in commercial property law and practice and over several years have amassed experience in the many different ways commercial property is now traded – from corporate wrapper sales and acquisitions to complex joint ventures. This practice is also one of few in London that have in depth experience in buying, selling, financing, developing and leasing data centres.’
‘David Seymour, Will Bryant and David Broome are excellent – their attention to detail, responsiveness, commercial acumen and ability to find sensible compromises in negotiations are first rate.’
‘I found the team at Ropes & Gray to be very dynamic and commercial when it came to problem solving on our transaction. They feel more like part of the partnership than and external advisory law firm. The deal we successfully completed was complex, multijurisdictional and executed under real time pressure. The Ropes & Gray team were able to cope with that complexity and deliver the required result with ease.’
‘The hands-on approach from both partners and associates is notable, they work efficiently as individuals and indeed in their deal teams whilst at all times focusing on the needs and best interests of the client. I would have no hesitation in reinstructing this team or indeed recommending them to the peers in my industry.’
Bain Capital Real Estate
- Advised King Street and Arax Properties on the £295m acquisition and financing of Alban Gate on London Wall.
- Advised APG Asset Management on a joint venture with the US-based Hines Group to establish a new platform to invest in the development of residential led, mixed use schemes across the greater Dublin area.
- Advised Arrow Capital Partners on a €2bn platform with Cerberus for pan-European logistics investments.
Simmons & Simmons
John Kelsey is practice head at Simmons & Simmons ; he has expertise in structured transactions of investment properties, sale and leasebacks and a range of landlord and tenant matters. The team, which is particularly well-regarded for corporate wrapper deals and joint ventures, acts on the full array of development and investment activities across all asset classes; examples include skyscrapers, retail centres, student accommodation and social housing, office buildings, industrial warehouses, mixed-use and residential. Found among the client roster are numerous real estate fund managers and sovereign wealth funds.
Squire Patton Boggs' investment offering covers transactions, structuring, fund formation, asset management and the creation of investment vehicles. On the development side, the team handles forward funding agreements and site assembly work, among other matters. The team, which is led by Andrew Sprake in London and European real estate head Matthew Dalzell in Leeds, is able to call upon strong real estate finance expertise where necessary. Though it operates across all assets including infrastructure, hotels, retail and leisure, it has carved out a particular niche in representing energy, music and entertainment clients, along with high-net-worth individuals from Hong Kong, China and the Middle East. Occupier work is centred around London City and the West End, with a focus on financial services.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has huge experience, knowledge of the law, and is responsive and easy to work with.’
‘The team understands what we are looking to achieve and approaches work in a pragmatic and commercially minded way.’
‘Andrew Sprake is pragmatic and helpful.’
‘I had the pleasure of working with Pat Ryan and Pippa Botham on a large residential conditional contract. Both are proactive, commercial and personable individuals. Their understanding and handling of the key issues and individuals involved was excellent.’
‘Patrick Ryan is a rarity in the commercial world, in that he proves to be 100% reliable and consistent in all our dealings. A breadth and depth of knowledge and experience that seem boundless. Always happy to explore alternative approaches and find a solution, he is invaluable to us in our transactions.’
‘Pippa Botham regularly impresses with her ability to deal with issues arising in a transaction in the most proactive ways. Her tenacity is admirable as is her ability to understand the commercial view in achieving the most appropriate outcomes.’
Close Brothers Limited
One Healthcare Limited
Bank Leumi (UK) Plc
Retail Employees Superannuation Trust
Apsley House Capital Plc
VTP Global Holdings Ltd and VTP London Limited
Henley Investment Management
HSBC Bank plc
Live Nation Group (including Ticketmaster, Academy Music Group, Festival Republic)
Leeds City Council
- Advising FORE Partnership on the sale of Yorkshire House Leeds for £22m.
- Acting for ETC Venues on the acquisition of 50-52 Chancery Lane for £28m.
- Advising CMS Distribution Limited on the lease for a warehousing and distribution hub at Wakefield Europort.
Recommended for development and investment work, Stephenson Harwood supports clients on the full life cycle of projects include acquisition, site assembly, pre-lets and management through to disposal. Its key sectors of late include logistics, retail, mixed-use, regeneration, data centres, hotels and leisure. Practice head Jonathon Wilkes is extensively experienced in individual asset and portfolio transactions, sale and leasebacks, forward funding, joint venture structuring and real estate finance; his team is supported by the wider's firm's specialists in litigation, construction, tax, planning and environment.
Schroder UK Real Estate Fund
LaSalle Investment Management
Tristan Capital Partners
The Langham Estate
Duff & Phelps
London Metric Properties
- Advised Reef Group, Osprey Equity Partners and City of London Development Company on the sale and funding of an aparthotel scheme in Aldgate, London, for £150m.
- Advised Frasers Property on its £135m acquisition of Lakeshore a 541,886 sq ft office building situated within Bedfont Lakes Business Park.
- Advised Schroder Real Estate Fund on the sale of Palace House, a 45,012 sq ft. office and retail building situated on the South Bank for £48.8m.
The team at Travers Smith LLP, which is known for ‘understanding the commercial imperatives of transactions’, is well regarded for representing real estate funds and private equity real estate clients on a broad range of developments, investments and lettings. In particular, the knowledgebase of asset classes is a real standout, with the firm's recent workload spanning marinas, care homes, hotels, shopping centres, mines, restaurant chains and cinemas. Practice head Simon Rutman supports on joint ventures with specialist knowledge of the healthcare and private rented sectors. When it comes to development and regeneration work, Alex Millar is the key name, working with the firm's corporate M&A, finance, funds and tax lawyers to support at all stages of individual projects.
‘The Travers team are responsive, knowledgeable but are also very good at understanding the commercial imperatives of transactions, which enables them to remove obstacles from a transaction rather than create them.’
‘Emma Pereira is an exceptionally capable partner, who has strong commercial understanding of what is required of a deal. She is also extremely loyal to her clients and is always available when you need her.’
AJ Capital Partners
Ancala Partners LLP
Bridgepoint Advisers Limited
BS Pension Fund Trustee Limited
Foster & Partners
Giraffe Concepts Limited
Impact Healthcare REIT plc
Lothbury Investment Management
Merian Global Investors (UK) Limited
Office Space in Town
STA Travel Ltd
The London Clinic
The World Universities Insights Limited
- Advised AJ Capital on the acquisition of three iconic hotels: the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, the Rusacks in St. Andrews and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Cambridge City Centre.
- Advised Breedon Group on the proposed acquisition by way of asset deal of a significant part of Cemex’s UK aggregates, asphalt and ready-mix concrete business, which involved over 100 mines.
- Advised Lyceum Capital (now Horizon Capital LLP) on the sale of EAT to Pret a Manger, coordinating the real estate aspects of the disclosure exercise and negotiating the real estate warranties and other real estate aspects of the sale documentation.
Under the leadership of Sara Bailey, a PPP, joint venture, regeneration and development expert, Trowers & Hamlins LLP ‘offers the exact support that clients are looking for’. The team assists on commercial developments and investments from planning through to disposal, with particular significance placed on inward investment from the Far and Middle East, bolstered by long-established expertise in Islamic finance. Other distinguished names include many public sector bodies in addition to private wealth residential clients. Asset expertise also encompasses shopping centres, logistics, hotels, retail, restaurants, cinemas and leisure-related real estate. Rebecca Wardle ‘has real commercial acumen and demonstrates fantastic composure’.
‘They offer exactly the support you look for as a client; they are incredibly responsive and the advice is always well thought through, practical and relevant to us and our key requirements and concerns. No matter how busy they may be with other clients, as even the smallest query is dealt with in this way, they manage to give the impression that your work is their priority, which in my view is the gold standard of service.’
‘Yvette Bryan and Dwynwen Lewis are very responsive and pick up the detail of each transaction. They disseminate well with teams they work with.’
‘Rebecca Wardle is great to work with. She has real commercial acumen and demonstrated fantastic composure under pressure to get the deal done.’
Watford Borough Council
Museum of London
Octopus Real Estate and Shroders Real Estate
Monzo Bank Limited
Urban Logistics REIT Plc
Chase New Homes
Boklok Housing Limited
- Advising Watford Borough Council on the acquisition of Croxley Park, a leading M25 business park with circa 700,000 sq ft of office and business space across 13 buildings, by way of an income strip lease, enabling the local authority to generate capital in exchange for providing an investor with a secure long term income.
- Acting for Monzo Bank on its new c120,000 sq ft head office letting of Broadwalk House on the Broadgate Estate from British Land.
- Acting for Urban Logistics REIT Plc on the sale and leaseback acquisition of six logistics properties from Tuffnells Parcels Express, part of the Connect Group, for £9.9m.
At Wedlake Bell LLP, Justin Lewis-Vivas oversees ‘a strong property team’ which ‘delivers excellent advice without hubris.’, The group excels in relation to development and investment projects within the care home, healthcare, student accommodation, retail, residential, mixed-use, business park and leisure sectors. Its clients include domestic corporate buyers and funds along with several overseas investors and international bodies. On the corporate occupier side, the workload includes premises moves, portfolio management and leasing affairs in sectors such as sciences, professional services, financial and co-working. The team which includes the 'highly personable and razor sharp' Suzanne Gill, was recently boosted by the additions of David Roberts and Kathryn West from Jones Day.
‘Decent, ethical people, delivering excellent advice and without hubris. The team has strong depth and robust abilities across the whole sector of real estate.’
‘Suzanne Gill is as much trusted adviser as solicitor. Suzanne is highly personable, razor sharp and always on top of matters. She delivers excellent client care, brilliant legal advice and can deliver withering legal putdowns in the most charming way to the other side. She has immense gravitas and is a strong moral champion for the legal sector.’
‘No-nonsense advice which gets to the heart of the matter but more importantly, identifies practical and effective solutions to drive transactions over the line.’
‘David de Maupeou is a smart real estate practitioner with practical advice and a drive to deliver the optimum outcome.’
‘David de Maupeou is a pleasure to work with. He has an ability to break down complex problems and present them simply as well as finding sensible common sense solutions to tricky issues.’
Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC
City & Country Group PLC
Royal London Asset Management
Oxenwood Real Estate LLP
LondonMetric Property PLC
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark
- Advising a JV between Oxenwood and Catalina Holdings on the acquisition of four logistics and distribution units and warehouses.
- Advising Zeno Capital on an equity and debt acquisition of the structure that owns the freehold of large supermarket premises in Croydon.
- Acted as subcontractors to Canadian law firm McCarthy Tetrault for specialist UK property advice on the acquisition of a UK flower and herb farm by Sundial, one of Canada’s largest cannabis producers.
White & Case LLP runs a specialised, sector-specific practice which focuses on data centre, logistics, hospitality, leisure and logistics assets. Led by James Dodsworth, the team represents investors, financial institutions, family offices, private equity funds and retailers on a broad array of activities; examples include investment-related sales and acquisitions, joint ventures, leasing matters and portfolio management.
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP acts for a mixture of national and international corporates on both headquarter relocations and portfolio management. In addition, it also handles high-end development and regeneration projects, including mixed-use schemes, providing input at all stages including development agreements and land acquisition. Newcastle-based John Ralph heads the department, which counts a number of London bluechip real estate funds among its investment client list. Secured lending and property finance expertise are notable supplementary strengths, as is the group’s project expertise in the energy, rail infrastructure and public sectors.
Rockspring UK Value 2 Fund (Patrizia Asset Managers)
Tristan Capital/Addington Capital
F&C Property Growth and Income Fund
The Bournemouth Development Company LLP
RATP Dev UK (London United)
Quidnet Capital Partners
Halifax (HBOS) Pension Fund (Patrizia Asset Managers)
The Board of the Pension Protection Fund
Lloyds Bank Plc
Macquarie Private Capital
Lloyds Bank Plc
English Cities Fund
The Vista PRS Fund
Hansteen Holdings plc
Vertu Motors plc
Commercial Estates Group (“CEG”)
Town Centre Securities PLC
- Advised Iberdrola and Scottish Power Renewables on the sale of a 40% share in the East Anglia One offshore windfarm project, acting on the real estate aspects of the transaction for the sellers Iberdrola and its subsidiary Scottish Power Renewables.
- Acted for Hearthstone Residential Fund 1 LP on several portfolio purchases comprising 190 new build plots which have either exchanged or completed within the year 2018-19.
- Acting for the borrower, a family office client on a £39m investment loan facility with RBS over a mixed use portfolio of 20 assets based across the south east of England.
Cripps Pemberton Greenish fields a ‘great line-up of lawyers who understand the demands and intricacies of property development’. In particular, mixed-use developments and complication regenerations are the core focuses with the team providing input at all stages from planning permission and construction contracts through to letting and sales. Jason Tann, hailed as a ‘master of explaining the complex’, leads the development practice and also co-heads the investment offering alongside Stephen Hedley; their team targets institutional property investment companies, including pension funds, private equity funds and REITs, and is particularly active in respect of retail and hospitality assets. Oliver Morris fronts the corporate occupier practice which has a workload of relocations, new lease negotiations, refurbishments, premises acquisitions and lease exits, among others.
‘A fluid team of individuals who understand the key drivers to getting the deal done. That’s rare.’
‘Jason Tann is a master of explaining the complex in easily digestible, bite-sized chunks. Totally refreshing and unique.’
‘A firm with a personal service tailored to clients and their needs.’
‘Jason Tann offers attention to detail and practical investment real estate advice.’
‘Very hands-on. Personal and incredibly professional. A great line up who understands the demands and intricacies of property development – and how to keep the train from veering off-course.’
‘Very thorough, very responsive and always a pleasure to work with.’
John Lyon’s Charity
Kato Kagaku Co. Limited
Hermes Real Estate
The Cadogan Estate
The Eyre Estate
The Baltic Exchange
The Sloane Stanley Estate
Baylight Properties Ltd
Native Land Limited
Emirates National Bank of Dubai
The Max Barney Estate
The Academy of Medical Sciences
M&G Real Estate
Liberty Property Trust UK Limited
- Advising the Eyre Estate and the Eyre Estate Investment Fund, undertaking all investment and asset management work in relation to St John’s Wood Estate and UK wide property portfolio, which consists of both commercial and residential assets.
- Advising Birchall Properties Limited on all aspects of a mixed leisure, health, sport and education scheme on the edge of the Peak District with a GDV of £400m.
- Advised a private family investment company on the sale of a mixed-use property in Covent Garden for £2.35m.
Real estate specialist firm Davitt Jones Bould has ‘a vast depth of talent in the area’, and is particularly acclaimed for its work in the corporate occupier and investment arenas where it prides itself on representing high-profile names at prominent locations. Senior partner and founder Madeleine Davitt is famed for her ‘excellent client care and oversight’; she holds distinguished expertise in large central government commercial property projects, having notably acted on the hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games on behalf of the Royal Parks. In addition to the public sector, the group also excels in the retail, professional services, charities, banking and leisure sectors, among others.
‘Mel Greer-Walker is highly practical, thorough and a great communicator – all essential qualities for a commercial property lawyer.’
‘An amazing depth of experience in property issues. All the solicitors have substantial post-qualification experience which always shows in the quality of advice provided.’
‘Madeleine Davitt maintains excellent client care and oversight. She clearly takes pride in her firm and has a great propensity to make clients feel valued and to see that work gets done on time and that the client is kept updated.;
‘The lawyers we deal with really care about how what they do affects us and our objectives.’
‘Geoffrey Lander is a team player, bringing together like-minded professionals into his legal team, taking full responsibility and accountability. This is the key attribute an outside counsel must deliver – a star line-up who integrate into the corporate process, contribute and deliver with no fuss.’
‘DJB provide a personal service and no matter how big or small the case, they take time to talk to clients and often go the extra mile to make sure the client is protected.’
‘Madeleine Davitt is extremely good at dealing effectively with any client issues which may arise, and manages the client relationships extremely well.’
The Royal Parks
Woking Borough Council
Fujifilm UK plc
Rick Stein (TV Celebrity Chef) restaurant group
Attorney Generals Office
Runnymede Borough Council
Slough Borough Council
- Advised a property investor on the £110m acquisition of a well-known shopping centre.
- Advised a property investment company on a number of acquisitions to add to its £800m+ portfolio.
- Advised the Royal Parks on the transformation of Admiralty Arch into a 5* hotel.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's development expertise includes urban regeneration, mixed-use schemes and brownfield sites. On the investment side, it leverages its global platform in locations such as Hong Kong and Beijing to act for a range of Asian investors, drawing on the firm’s corporate structuring, funding and tax specialists to provide a one-stop-shop. Bruce Dear is a key name for occupier work; the group's work involves office relocations, headquarter expansions and complicated leasing negotiations.
‘Nick Bartlett is a highly capable, innovative and personable lawyer, with extremely strong commercial acumen equalled by public sector knowledge.’
‘Tom Goldsmith is an excellent lead negotiator and strategic. Clearly loves what he does and it shows. A pleasure to work with.’
‘The team who worked with us were all highly competent and highly intelligent. It was wonderful to see how skilfully and diplomatically they negotiated with the other side, maintaining their composure throughout the process, during what was probably a time-consuming process at times.’
‘The quality of legal contracts is much higher than other firms who I’ve worked with. I have already recommended the team to another client of mine.”
Led by the ‘outstanding and wholly engaged’ Mark Gauguier, Farrer & Co adopts a ‘pragmatic and creative approach to problem solving’. The team’s development and investment activities are characterised by high-value transactions in the mid-market with the London-based assets serving as a priority. The group routinely works with international property investors from Hong Kong, Russia and the Middle East who are looking to expand their interests in the UK. Investments into private offices and high-end residential assets are areas of particular strength, as is a range of asset management including landlord and tenant matters and relevant litigation. The development caseload includes a wealth of flagship projects for institutional clients with urban extensions a well-established forte. Clients regularly single out senior associate Henry Stevens as ‘excellent’ for development-related transactions. Sector strengths include education, charities and estates.
Other key lawyers:
‘Henry Stevens is excellent.’
‘The team at Farrer work extremely well collaboratively, with the interests of the client remaining at the forefront of all they do.’
‘The commercial property team are proactive, easy to talk to and pragmatic in their thinking.’
‘Very easy to deal with. Clarity on single points of contact. Very very good on explaining legal issues in plain language (both in writing and orally). Always ready to talk.’
‘Mark Gauguier is outstanding. He was engaged throughout and felt as if he was really one of the team trying to get the deal over the line. Friendly and approachable at all times. Good on interpersonal skills and kept friendly even when we were discussing business. Was never patronising when I did not understand a legal point and was always able to explain matters in clear English. He was wholly engaged and thoroughly professional. A delight to work with.’
‘A personalised and professional service. They make sure that they understand the businesses that we are involved in and are proactive in their advice. They are not dogmatic in their administration.’
‘Quite above and beyond any other of the firms with which I deal.’
‘They seem to give their associates and trainees excellent experience and support/mentoring.’
‘Pragmatic, efficient and helpful. A lively, wise team to work with.’
‘We find Mark Gauguier’s team friendly, hard working and always willing to put extra effort in if necessary to get the deal done.’
Charities Property Fund
Duchy of Cornwall
Highbridge Properties plc
The Ironmongers Company
The Royal College of Surgeons of England
The British Library
Property Trust Group
Victoria and Albert Museum
Arbuthnot Latham & Co Ltd
- Advised the Charities Property Fund on numerous substantial and significant transactions, including the disposal of a mixed portfolio of commercial properties to a German investor for £45m.
- Advised a property investment company on the sale of a large investment grade trophy asset to a large investment fund for around £250m.
- Acted for a major property investor on the share sale of an SPV property holding company to US/UK property developers for c. £80m.
At Fieldfisher, the corporate occupier practice is led by Ramatu Banga and Paul Houston and is particularly well-versed in acting for clients in the industrial, health care, leisure and hospitality sectors. Elsewhere, house builders, commercial developers and funders, among others, rely on the team for a range of development matters including planning, environmental, land acquisition, construction and disposal-related instructions. Rhodri Pazzi-Axworthy heads the development practice together with Birmingham-based Susan Simpson; alongside Jayne Elkins, Pazzi-Axworthy also oversees the investment offering which represents property funds in addition to institutional and investment clients in the private equity sector.
Birmingham International Airport
Business Lending Group
Co-operative Group Limited
DWS (formerly Deutsche Asset Management / RREEF)
Hammerson plc (Purchaser)
Healthpeak (formerly HCP, Inc.)
Imperial College, London
Kennedy Wilson Europe
Landprop Holding B.V. and Vastint UK B.V. (part of the inter IKEA Group of Companies)
Liberty Property Trust (UK) Limited
Lloyds Banking Group
MRP Real Estate Fund
Proark Properties ApS
Santander UK Plc
Shell Pension Funds
- Advised Ditton Park Property Unit Trust on the acquisition and financing of a 200 acre site including existing office buildings.
- Advised Dominvs Group on the acquisition of a high profile development site adjacent to the US Embassy.
- Advised Exeter Property Group on the £100m+ refinancing of a substantial part of its UK property portfolio.
London firm Fladgate LLP combines ‘depth of experience with a personable service’. Practice head Stephen Lewis is praised for his ‘good understanding of investment-related purchases and asset management’. Additional core strengths of the team include cross-border European transactions and high-profile developments and redevelopments, including residential projects, with clients spanning local and offshore investors, developers, high-net-worth private families and institutions and lenders and borrowers. On the corporate occupier front, the team handles everything from start-up first office leases through to major headquarter relocations, representing co-working providers, professional businesses, retailers, restaurants, hoteliers and barristers chambers in the process.
‘Gideon Dabby-Joory has good communication skills and makes the effort to go beyond the call of duty.’
‘The team offers sufficient depth of experience, but at the same same remain personable.’
‘Simon Kanter’s comprehensive business understanding of property issues is excellent. He proactively guided us through the type of agreements that would achieve the best results in our unique scenario. Everything was patiently explained to us so we were in a position to make business decisions and Simon then delivered the tailored legal documentation quickly. He has the perfect blend of business knowledge, legal expertise and sound advice that we needed.’
‘The team brings a pragmatic and ‘can-do’ attitude to helping the client achieve the end goal.’
‘The team works well to understand the needs of the client from the outset and ensures that deadlines are met with the ultimate aim of securing the investment property under consideration.’
‘Stephen Lewis has a good general understanding of the parts of the law needed when buying and asset managing a commercial property investment. He knows how to liaise with the other side for best effect and takes the part of a trusted adviser as far as we are concerned.’
‘Simon Kanter’s extensive experience means that there is little Simon has not come across before on a whole range of issues that a real estate business confronts. This experience allows him to distil the problem and if needed offer candid advice on the imperfect options that often confront us in the real world.’
‘Richard Reuben is impressive in his quick understanding of complex legal issues and is very wiling to offer sensible and pragmatic advice, helping clients to weigh up the risks of courses open to them.’
‘Alan Karsberg has a unique ability to formulate advice and solutions from the perspective of the in-house team, but leverging the full resources of his firm.’
Best Star Real Estate
FTH Investments Limited
Goldacre Noé Group
Otium Real Estate
London & Regional Properties
Penguin Random House Limited
- Advised Best Star Real Estate in connection with a £17m brownfield development site acquisition.
- Advising BYM Group on numerous transactions such as the purchase of Milton Keynes Central Station including the mixed-use shop and office space on the plot.
- Advising Equitix on numerous property matters such as the acquisition of the freehold of Crickhowell House, Cardiff, which is the administrative offices of the Welsh Assembly.
Memery Crystal LLP is routinely engaged for the full array of domestic and cross-border investment-related acquisitions and disposals, with the capacity to support on resulting finance, development, planning and construction issues. The real estate team has a strong reputation for its work for retailers and hotels, though also counts high-net-worth individuals, family offices, property owners, banks and asset managers among its client roster. The practice is co-headed by Alastair Moss and Daniel Abrahams; they work in tandem with head of real estate private client Nicola Kravitz .
‘Whichever division of practice you engage, the firm brings in all experts from all areas of law – I dealt with real estate but also had specialist advice from commercial, employment and tax. All very helpful and all very relevant.’
‘Daniel Abrahams is a hugely capable and highly approachable partner – he steps in at just the right time.’
‘Nicola Kravitz is enthusiastic, always available and if there is a rush to transact on something, she makes sure it happens. She is strong in negotiations and is prepared to provide advice rather than sit on the fence (an all-too-common attribute of many other lawyers).’
‘They were professional, reassuring, pragmatic, knowledgeable and responsive – everything we wanted and needed.’
‘Nicola Kravitz is always approachable and available and if not, I had full access to the commercial team. The work was sound and very effective.’
‘Work was very professionally and sensibly split between a paralegal, an associate and a partner – there was never any sense to me that I needed to explain something twice or waste any of my time in that way as the communication between the three individuals was excellent. I also felt in extremely safe hands with all three – there was never a sense of waiting for the partner’s input.’
Ashtrom Properties UK
David Moore & Tony Bennett
Bowling Green Asset Management
Wyevale Garden Centres
Z. C. Ronogil
- Advised Ashtrom Properties on the £68m acquisition of the 360,000 sq. ft. Grade II listed building Exchange Flags from Shelborn Asset Management in Liverpool.
- Advised a private family client on the £38.1m sale of its freehold interest in Blue Star House, Brixton to Derwent London.
- Advised new client ODC Management on the £12.25m sale of its freehold interest in 130 Old Street, EC1.
At Mills & Reeve LLP, Orla O’Sullivan, Michael Giess and Christine de Ferrars Green lead the development practice, which undertakes an array of projects including regenerations, mixed-use developments and asset-specific developments. Key asset classes include education, health, rural land and residential with the core real estate offering supported by environmental, agriculture, construction and finance expertise. Investment work is led by Charles Staveley who delivers advice on the full lifecycle from acquisition and management through to disposal; his team have recently handled an increasing number of forward funding and joint venture agreements in addition to investments in alternative assets.
‘Clear communication across the team, resulting in a common understanding of client needs.’
‘The firm has a willingness to work on long-term relationships and partner with clients.’
‘Charles Staveley provides strong leadership. He has intricate knowledge of even the smaller jobs being undertaken across his team on our behalf.’
Hermes Fund Managers Ltd
Fidelity UK Real Estate Fund
Royal Mail Pension Plan (on instructions of LaSalle Investment Management)
Floreat Real Estate
Kadans Science Partner
- Advised the Railways Pension Trustee Company Limited on the sale of former B&Q store at 20 Smugglers Way, Wandsworth, London, on behalf of an institutional pension fund.
- Advised Possfund Custodian Trustee Limited on the purchase of freehold and long-leasehold interests in a property adjacent to the M6 motorway at Walsall.
- Acted for a Floreat managed fund, in its £18.75m acquisition of an office building in Richmond, London including advising on the acquisition financing.
At Payne Hicks Beach, clients receive ‘forensic attention to detail’ coupled with a ‘thorough understanding of the subject matter’. Practice head Andrew Berry is extensively experienced on all commercial property fronts and leads a team with extremely broad expertise. For investment matters, the group has forged a reputation in acting for Scandinavian, French, Middle and Far Eastern clients on inbound London investments, namely in relation to prime residential property. On the development front, both commercial and residential projects are acted upon with promotion agreements, funding and land sales all included within the offering. Bluechip occupiers, including those with large portfolios, also rely on the group, primarily in relation to the occupation of retail, warehousing, restaurant and hotel premises. Landlord and tenant expert Emma Copestake recently arrived from Withers LLP.
‘We had a complex development site to sell; the attention we received was of the highest standard and we cannot complain about any aspect.’
‘They provide personal attention and deal in a practical manner, making things easy for us. I cannot praise them enough.’
‘The firm always act 100% professionally, with absolute integrity, and with an in-depth and thorough understanding of the subject matter. When the matter is urgent, they deal with it expeditiously and adopt a commercial approach, whilst at the same time being forensic in relation to the attention to detail within each transaction. They always provide an exceptionally high standard of service and take full responsibility for their actions.’
‘Richard Stapylton-Smith has provided an exceptional professional service over the last 20 years, with solid legal advice to my various commercial entities. He has also provided personal legal advice and is now not only a trusted legal adviser, but has become a personal friend.’
- Advising a major hotel investor on the restructuring of an adjoining underperforming mixed use asset to create a new private members club in Mayfair, London.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is hailed for its ‘holistic approach’, supporting its clients with tax, finance, corporate and other supplementary expertise in addition to core commercial real estate matters. Cross-border work is particularly prevalent within the workload, with practice head Natalie Breen specialising in advising Asian clients on inbound investment into the UK and Europe. Work undertaken includes acquisitions and disposals, leasing, deal structuring, joint ventures and group reorganisations. Clients frequently cite big-ticket transaction expert Amit Unadkat for his ‘first-class service’.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very commercially focused and runs a highly efficient operation.’
‘Amit Unadkat is attuned to the business needs of the client and is very commercially astute, making sure he provides a first class service.’
‘The team is well organised and run by people with high expertise in the real estate sector. One of their strengths is that they can provide sophisticated professional services of not only legal matters, but also other professional areas such as tax and accounting.’
‘An extensive global reach to service cross-border deals. Strong on tax and structuring.’
‘Amit Unadkat is very commercial and has a good understanding of cross-border deals. Strong also on inbound real estate investment into the UK.
‘Amit Unadkat is very knowledgeable on all aspects of transactions, however complicated. I have a great deal of confidence in his capabilities of the transaction he is dealing with for me. There are various members of his team who are very efficient in assisting him with this matter. They are all very polite and informative.’
‘The practice is unique in that they provide traditional law firm services alongside other necessary deal services which are provided by accountancy firms. My observation is that this integrated model delivers significant benefits in terms of joined-up thinking and approach, and coordination efficiencies. The team itself is dynamic and innovative, and delivers to a very high technical standard, in a commercial and pragmatic way. I have enjoyed working with them.’
‘The team at PwC are well rounded and effective collective to work with. Their insight into all things property is admirable. The industry knowledge and site specific detail is far superior than other firms we have met.’
‘Amit Unadkat is a subject matter expert in this field. It would be fair to say that many of the acquisitions our firm made were transacted with his skill, but more importantly, guidance. His inside track on deals all over the city is to be admired. There are many within this field but he stands out as one to watch. A rising star at the top of his game.’
‘Amit Unadkat is an excellent communicator and business connector. An excellent legal professional who understands the wider context of clients’ businesses.’
‘Their ability to leverage the experience and skills of a broader accountancy and professional services practice makes PwC’s Legal team a great choice for a complex multi-disciplinary project. Solutions are worked through with tax and accounting colleagues in an efficient manner, before being presented to clients, which is reassuring given the number of issues to manage on any transaction.’
‘Amit Unadkat is strong technically and commercially and leads his teams exceptionally well.’
- Advising Cullen Group on the development and sale of a large mixed use/residential site in Birmingham.
- Advising a major global retailer on the restructuring of its property portfolio.
- Advised Hong Kong investor Viva Landmar, on its acquisition of the City of London office building Monument Place for c.£90m.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
US firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has built up a strong presence in London, where Wheatly MacNamara - hailed as ‘a truly commercial expert’ - leads the practice. The firm represents a number of prominent private equity real estate funds, most notably The Blackstone Group, and handles big-ticket sales and acquisitions involving both individual assets and portfolios, as well as leasing and development matters, joint ventures and co-investments. Clients cite the team as ‘very experienced in real estate-related M&A’ while also noting its formidable reputation for ‘cross-border financing and transaction work’.
‘A very experienced M&A real estate and real estate financing team with international expertise and reach. We have worked with the team on numerous cross-border transactions and financing transactions and they stand out as one the leading firms across Europe. The team is very easy to work with and has vast and unique experience in complex multi-jurisdictional real estate transactions.’
‘Wheatly MacNamara heads up the team and manages to keep momentum in every deal in getting the deal done. An intelligent lawyer with commercial knowledge and a true expert in M&A deals and our first choice for any cross-border mandate we come across. The team is very capable and straight to the point.’
‘The level of engagement for clients, availability, business acumen and negotiation skills of the team overall are outstanding. Their ability to team up with other law firms in continental jurisdictions is unrivalled. They manage to set the balance between leading a transaction and leaving autonomy at the optimum level. It is in addition very enjoyable to work with them.’
‘All individual lawyers are exceptional in their engagement and skills, but Wheatly MacNamara is a particular stand out.’
The Blackstone Group
Blackstone Real Estate Partners
Blackstone Property Partners Europe
Blackstone Tactical Opportunities
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Round Hill Capital
- Advised Blackstone in connection with the acquisition of Dream Global’s subsidiaries and assets in an all-cash transaction valued at C$6.2bn.
- Advised Blackstone in connection with its launch of Mileway, a £7.1bn logistics real estate company.
- Represented funds advised by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities and Round Hill Capital in the sale of a portfolio of residential and commercial assets located in the Czech Republic for a purchase price of approximately €1.3bn.
Steptoe and Johnson UK LLP
Steptoe and Johnson UK LLP’s lawyers are ‘always contactable and prepared to go the extra mile’. Brendan Patterson serves as practice head; his team's development expertise covers mixed-use, office, supermarket, warehouse and residential projects. Additional key pillars of the practice include investment-related acquisitions and disposals in addition to property management, with the group’s expertise in retirement villages and data centres serving as key differentiators.
Watson Farley & Williams LLP's team is praised for its ‘hands-on, partner-led approach’. Led by Gary Ritter, the team’s investor client base includes REITs, private equity entities and family offices in addition to offshore and institutional investors. It possesses knowledge of the full array of assets including office, mixed-use, logistics, retail, hotels and leisure with a workload that spans sales and purchases, leasing matters, asset management and project development.
‘A hands-on, partner-led approach with an excellent team of associates. Timely and proactive approach. Transactions concluded efficiently. Strong commercial understanding of what is important and what can be conceded.’
‘Hetan Ganatra is very commercial, deals with matters very efficiently and his approach has filtered down through the rest of the team.’
Ropemaker Properties Limited (the property arm of BP Pension Fund)
- Acted for BP Pension Fund (through its property arm Ropemaker Properties Limited) on the sale of an office block and surrounding development in Brentford, London.
- Acted for Greenacre Capital, acting through its SPV Greenacre Capital (CGW) Limited, on the acquisition of a portfolio of four student accommodation properties in Worcester, Gloucester and Cheltenham.
- Acted for Bondcare on the acquisition and leaseback of a portfolio of care homes. The sale also included a transfer of the business from the seller to Bondcare.