Rising Stars: Real Estate And Construction

Real estate and construction in New Zealand

Bell Gully

Bell Gully has a deep bench of talent and is frequently involved in the largest real estate and construction projects in the market. Its recent work has seen the firm play central roles in nationally significant projects, including several city transformation projects and the development of significant Crown, public sector and local authority assets. Projects and real estate partner Andrew Petersen and construction partner Ian Becke in Auckland, along with construction specialist David Chisnall in Wellington, are the lead partners. Jane Holland, who specialises in commercial leasing and development projects and is now on the Executive Committee of the Property Council of New Zealand, and construction litigation partner Simon Ladd are also recommended in Auckland, as is newly promoted partner Toni Forrest in Wellington who is 'exceptionally commercially savvy and solutions-focused'.

Testimonials

‘Jane Holland takes the time to engage well with the issues that the business is facing, practical in how she delegates the work throughout her team of very capable lawyers who each deliver great work, on time and on point.’

‘Bell Gully has supported the development and subsequent award of a major civil works contract. They provided current market thinking and risk apportionment considerations to the process and the outcome was to the highest standards.’

‘Ian Becke in particular is very down to earth and always provides advice that is easily understood and has real context to the project or subject matter that is being discussed.’

‘They are very specialised in this sector and have lots of experience. Based on their knowledge and experiences they give practical advice. Also they are consist of several particular groups which means that their advice is reliable in any circumstances. Partner Karl Anderson is our main contact.’

‘We have been working them for seven years. I think they are very professional and reliable lawyers. I have several good memories in which we had overcome situations. Apart from their skill and knowledge, they are good people. They understand what we need and what is our ultimate goal. I am pretty sure that I can introduce them to my friends as best lawyers in NZ.’

‘One of the best, leading legal firms in NZ. Their strongest points compared to other firms are deep legal expertise, covering all areas of the commercial, transactional and real estate fields. The partners are very strong individually.’

‘Ian Becke is a leading real estate partner with international experience and strong local real estate knowledge who is very commercial and highly client-focused.’

‘This team – particularly  partner Toni Forrest – is particularly solutions-focused. The team is able to not only identify the issues and possible solutions to a problem but to go further to help us find a pathway through that issue in a way that mitigates risk and achieves our organisation’s objectives. The team has been working with our in-house team for less than two years and in my experience it is really rare to have a team so quickly understand our complex organisation’s objectives, risks and drivers in the way that Bell Gully has done.’

‘Toni Forrest is the definition of a trusted advisor. She is exceptionally commercially savvy, solutions-focused and extremely approachable. In a complex organisation like ours, we need advisors who can understand not only the legal and commercial risk the organisation faces, but also reputational and commercial risk. Toni does this effortlessly.’

‘The firm has very good property industrt knowledge that is provided to the client in a very practical and supportive manner.’

‘Its strength is in the relationship between the parties and the ability to “cut to the chase’ and deliver solutions and support without unnecessary rigmarole.’

Key clients

Auckland Transport

ANZ Bank

David Jones

Downer New Zealand Limited

Fletcher Building

Genesis Energy

Hawkes Bay Regional Council

Horizons Regional Council

Investec Property Limited

Invesco Real Estate

Kiwi Property Group

Owens Transport (Mainfreight)

New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga

Ngāi Tahu Property

PAG Real Estate

Port Marlborough

Port of Napier

Precinct Properties Limited

Saint Kentigern College

Stride Property

Tainui Group Holdings

Tāmaki Redevelopment Company

Taupo District Council

Tauranga City Council

Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited

Vital Healthcare Property Trust

Wellington City Council

Work highlights

  • Advising Precinct Properties on the continuation of its significant office redevelopment projects in the Central Government Precinct, including follow-on development, construction and leasing matters in relation to several Wellington office buildings as part of a project to meet the government’s long term accommodation needs in Wellington.
  • Advised Stride Property on the establishment of a new industrial property focussed investment management fund called Industre, and on the sale for approximately NZ$257m of twelve properties owned by Stride Property or its subsidiary Stride Holdings Limited to Industre.
  • Advised SkyCity Entertainment Group on its binding agreement with Macquarie Principal Finance Group to sell a long-term concession over more than 3,000 car parks in Auckland for NZ$220m.

Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp has a large practice that covers every aspect of real estate and construction in its work, which frequently sees it act in the largest and most complex deals in the market. The firm has a prominent role in standout real estate projects, often for major domestic players as well as for inbound investors. In the construction arena, the firm handles large projects throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Islands on behalf of public and private organisations. Its work encompasses infrastructure projects, PPPs, large-scale vertical construction projects and contentious matters. Matthew Carroll and Hamish Bolland in Auckland are the lead practitioners. Litigators John McKay and Edward Scorgie are recommended for contentious construction matters. For transactional matters, Mark Nicholson and construction projects consultant Brian Clayton also stand out. Greg Wise in Wellington is a highly regarded specialist in infrastructure, construction and property law.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Carroll; Hamish Bolland

Key clients

Fletcher Building

QT Lakeview Partnership (comprising Melbourne-based developer Ninety Four Feet and Augusta)

Hengyi

Todd Property

Willis Bond and Co

Precinct Properties

Ryman Healthcare

Tauranga Crossing

Ric Kayne / Tara Iti Holdings

Ministry of Health: Dunedin Hospital Development

Solomon Islands Electricity Authority: Tina River Project

Acurity Health Group Ltd: Wakefield Hospital Redevelopment

The Ministry for Education: holistic view of projects

Port of Napier Ltd: 6 Wharf Development project

Wellington City Council

Counties Manukau District Health Board: Mental Health Facility

Auckland International Airport

Work highlights

  • Acted for Fletcher Building subsidiary Winstone Wallboards in connection with the purchase of a large development site at Tauriko Business Park, Tauranga for construction of a new NZ$400m plasterboard/gib plant.
  • Acted for QT Lakeview Partnership as lead adviser on the negotiation of a development agreement with Queenstown Lakes District Council for the NZ$1bn staged development of the Lakeview precinct in Queenstown.
  • Acting for Hengyi (an Australian based developer with an established reputation for delivering high-end residential and commercial real estate projects) in all property and development aspects of its development of The Pacifica development on Commerce Street in Auckland.

Dentons Kensington Swan

Dentons Kensington Swan brings together expertise in construction, projects, environmental law, planning, finance and China-related matters to provide strategic advice on major projects across the country. The work of the infrastructure group encompasses consenting, property acquisitions, procurement and dispute resolution. Frequently involved in major PPP projects, it acts for a diverse range of clients, among them special purpose vehicles, design and construct contractors, operators, facilities maintenance contractors and equity funders. Matthew Ockleston and infrastructure project specialist Paul Buetow in Auckland lead the property, real estate and construction group, in which Paula Ormandy is also recommended. Ish Fraser and industry veteran John Meads in Wellington are leading lights in the market and special counsel Helen Brown stands out for contentious construction matters.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Ockletson; Paul Buetow

Key clients

New Zealand Transport Agency

Ministry of Social Development

Grand Complex Properties Limited

Universal Homes Limited

Pro-Invest Group

Tāmaki Regeneration Limited

PMG Capital

Fletcher Building Limited

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Limited

Oji Fibre Solutions

Downer New Zealand

CPB Contractors/ CIMIC

Leighs Construction

Auckland Transport

Naylor Love

Ghella Limited

Calibre

Hawkins 2017

CentrePort

Work highlights

  • Advising Tamaki Regeneration Limited on the structure of both its shared equity pilot scheme and its Build to Rent pilot scheme, negotiating with various banks and carrying out ongoing settlements.  
  • Working closely with the NZTA and its external property management consultants Darroch and Colliers International in relation to the management of the NZTA’s national landlord’s portfolio of properties acquired by the Crown for future public highways. The portfolio encompasses approximately 4,500 separate parcels spread across New Zealand and includes private installations (e.g. signage and telecommunications equipment) within the active road corridor, which requires special consideration.
  • Acting for the NZTA through its property consultants WSP and Align to acquire the land required for the Northern Corridor Improvements project (NCI) and to compensate affected parties under the Public Works Act 1981.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts

'The firm has an industry-leading team that is extremely knowledgeable, hardworking and friendly', say clients of MinterEllisonRuddWatts. The firm's construction practice has six experienced partners handling front-end work and contentious matters. They deal with large and complex projects for government entities, funders, property developers, listed property trusts, territorial authorities, retirement village operators, and major design and engineering consultants. The real estate practice has an equally deep bench and frequently handles the country's flagship projects, among them the KiwiBuild residential property development programme. Head of construction Janine Stewart and head of real estate David Gilbert oversee the group from Auckland, which is home to notable practitioners Mark Crosbie, Stephen Price and Sarah Sinclair for construction matters, and Ross Pickmere for real estate. Key real estate partner Andrew Monteith works from the Auckland and Wellington offices.

Practice head(s):

Janine Stewart; David Gilbert

Testimonials

‘The firm has an industry-leading team that is extremely knowledgeable, hardworking and friendly.’

‘Janine Stewart is a rising star – hardworking, extremely knowledgeable and laser-focused on best outcomes for the client. She demands a lot from her team.’

‘One of the strongest multi-disciplined real estate practices in New Zealand – from property to planning to construction, both front and back end – with great lawyers in each area.’

‘Mark Crosbie and Andrew Monteith are standout leaders in the field.’

Key clients

Metlifecare

The Crown (through the Ministry of Transport and Treasury)

Ōtākaro

Kiwi Property

Stride Property

Ports of Auckland

Mitsubishi

AECOM

Wellington Gateway Partnership

Auckland Council

Z Energy Limited

Spark New Zealand

Synlait Limited

Marriott International Inc

Queenstown Lakes District Council

Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities

Credit Suisse AG / Credit Suisse Group

ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the Crown on the two largest infrastructure projects currently in the market in New Zealand – the City Rail Link heavy rail project and the proposed Auckland Light Rail project.
  • Supporting the KiwiBuild unit as its sole legal advisors on its “Buying Off the Plans” initiative.
  • Advising Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) on all aspects of the procurement, construction and operation of New Zealand’s first hydrogen plant and refuelling station.

Russell McVeagh

The real estate and construction practice at Russell McVeagh is 'hardworking, commercial, smart and focused'. The firm climbs the ranking having grown its workload of high-value real estate and construction matters for domestic and overseas property institutions, and corporate property owners and occupiers. The firm's front-end construction practice is increasingly involved in large infrastructure projects, not least in the renewable energy sector. Construction disputes are also a key feature of the firm's work. Ed Crook leads the practice with construction litigation specialist Polly Pope. Both are based in Auckland, as are key partners David Butler, Anna Crosbie and the newly promoted Caleb Hensman. Pope and senior associate Michael Taylor are 'client-focused, well-prepared and commercial'.

Practice head(s):

Ed Crook; Polly Pope

Testimonials

‘The team is hardworking, commercial, smart and focused.’

‘The firm provides excellent knowledge and service, particularly from Ed Crook.’

‘I have worked with Russell McVeagh’s construction litigation team, which is excellent. The team is hardworking, well-resourced and experienced.’

‘Partner Polly Pope and senior associate Michael Taylor are both excellent.’

‘The team at Russell McVeagh offers a strength in depth that I rely upon for my projects. They turn around work in good time and I have complete faith in their standard of advice and reporting.’

Key clients

Goodman Property Trust

Kiwi Property Group

Precinct Properties

NZ PropCo Limited/ Templeton

Auckland International Airport

Logos Property Group

Summerset Group Holdings

AustralianSuper

Woolworths

Oyster Property Group

PSP

Visy

Lend Lease

ADHB

Wellington Water

Watercare

Cedar Pacific/ Pamoja Capital

Ports of Auckland

Work highlights

  • Advised NZ Propco Limited on the acquisition of the Todd Property Group portfolio assets. This was the most significant real estate transaction of 2019.
  • Advised a JPMorgan managed fund on the establishment of a joint venture fund, known as Industre Property, to hold the industrial properties currently in Stride Property Group’s portfolio.
  • Advising Precinct in relation to construction matters relating to its NZ$1bn Commercial Bay development, comprising a premium office tower, 3 levels of retail and rail tunnels.

Simpson Grierson

Simpson Grierson has a strong market presence in both construction and real estate, being involved in major projects such as the City Rail Link development and the Watercare Central Interceptor project. The real estate group acts for buyers, sellers, and developers of commercial property, as well as commercial property landlords and tenants, and organisations undertaking major infrastructure projects, among them local authorities. Indeed, the firm is widely seen as the leading domestic firm for public law and local government matters. 'It has excellent technical capability and is proactive in its advice', remarks one client. The construction practice is led from Auckland by front-end construction specialist Michael Weatherall and litigation partner Jo-Anne Knight. In the same office, Michael Wood is head of commercial property, supported by property development partner Greg Allen and local government and infrastructure specialist Nick Wilson. Greg Towers retired and is now a consultant.

Other key lawyers:

Greg Allen; Nick Wilson

Testimonials

‘The team brings to my organisation a variety of legal expertise that we require, so we don’t have to seek go to other legal firms for advice. It has excellent technical capability and is proactive in its advice, assisting with our business by helping solve problems. They are always willing to introduce us to other clients and contacts to assist us solve problems which is invaluable.’

‘The team is very down to earth, easy, fun to deal with and very responsive.’

‘All the individuals we deal with are technically very capable and responsive. They turn our needs around within very short periods of time. The quality of their work is exceptional and provide value for money.’

‘They are also very accommodating outside of office hours when needed.’

‘The firm has a broad knowledge on property and real estate matters and construction law. The partners work collaboratively with the clients outcomes to the forefront of all decisions.’

‘We recommend Michael Wood and Nick Wilson, primarily within the Public Works area and for the negotiation of land for infrastructure and construction purposes.’

Key clients

City Rail Link Limited

Fletcher Building

Auckland Council

Watercare Services Limited

Bunnings Limited

Samson Corporation Limited

Christchurch City Council

Tauranga City Council

Waitemata District Health Board

Tāmaki Redevelopment Company Ltd

Queenstown Lakes District Council

Scentre Group (Westfield)

New Zealand Carbon Farming Limited

Canam Construction Limited

Work highlights

  • Appointed in 2016 and continuing to advise CRLL as the lead legal adviser for the City Rail Link (CRL) Project. This is by far the most significant mandate for any construction law team in New Zealand. CRL is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in New Zealand. At an estimated cost of NZ$4.4bn, it is a key part of the plan for Auckland’s future.
  • Appointed in February 2018 continuing to advise Auckland Council on the procurement of alliance partners for the construction of the 36th America’s Cup base in central Auckland.
  • Appointed in 2017, and continuing to advise Watercare Services Ltd on the procurement for the Central Interceptor Main Works project, one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects ever undertaken in New Zealand.

Anthony Harper

Anthony Harper 'always delivers great results and is very responsive'. The property practice is frequently involved in large-scale commercial development projects, including commercial office towers, suburban business parks and purpose built industrial facilities. The separate construction practice focuses on commercial, industrial and residential developments across New Zealand, among them the building of hospitals, office blocks, KiwiBuild developments, state highways and other major infrastructure. Tim Barclay in Christchurch leads the property team, while the construction practice is led by Auckland-based front-end specialist Ed Dunphy and litigator Karen Kemp. The 'responsive and diligent' Tim Bunker in Auckland and, in Christchurch, senior associate Jessica Hanning also play key roles in property transactions and disputes respectively.

Practice head(s):

Tim Barclay; Ed Dunphy; Karen Kemp

Other key lawyers:

Tim Bunker; Jessica Hanning

Testimonials

‘The firm always delivers great results and is very responsive.’

‘Tim Bunker is very responsive and diligent.’

Key clients

Argosy Property

Arvida Limited

Augusta Capital

CDL Land New Zealand

Coca Cola Amatil

CPB Contractors Pty Limited

Fletcher Distribution

Fulton Hogan Limited

Goodman Property Trust

Huadu International NZ and its development subsidiaries

KiwiRail

LEP Group

Maat Group

Mainland Capital

Ninety Four Feet Limited

NZ Build Fund

Oaks Developments

Otautahi Community Housing Trust

Sarin Group

Shed 24

Southbase Construction Company

Stride Property Group

The Fletcher Construction Company

Woolworths

Work highlights

  • Watercare introduced a new model of contracting called the Enterprise Model Agreement. Its aim was to support the development of a high performing construction sector in New Zealand. The firm advised The Fletcher Construction Company, one of the successful construction parties, on negotiating this new and novel contract. The deal was worth NZ$2.4bn.
  • Acting for Mainland on the purchase from Epoch Property Group of industrial properties leased to Big Chill. The deal was valued at NZ$16m.
  • Advised NFF on its NZ$120m construction project for a new office, hotel and residential tower in Auckland.

Buddle Findlay

The property and construction practice at Buddle Findlay is 'relaxed but super capable with a practical approach and knowledge at the forefront of the industry'. The firm is 'very professional and brilliant to deal with', says a client of the practice led by property, corporate and banking partner Daniel Kelleher in Auckland and Wellington-based Charlotte von Dadelszen, who specialises in disposals and acquisitions, leasing, construction and property advice. Tom Bennett in Auckland is vastly experienced in real estate, procurement, construction and local government matters. The firm is best known for handling large projects with a focus on infrastructure and urban renewal. It frequently acts for institutional investors, local authorities, government entities, developers and construction companies, notably in public transport projects, irrigation projects, telecommunications projects and PPPs.

Other key lawyers:

Tom Bennett

Testimonials

‘The team knows our business very well as they have been working with our company for over 15 years. They offer pragmatic advice, are very timely in their advice and as our work is spread across a number of people in the team there is always someone available that is well versed in our business.’

‘The individuals in the team are very approachable, friendly and share a similar passion for our business as we do. Their work is always to a high standard and received in a timely manner.’

‘Relaxed but super capable. The firm has a practical approach and knowledge at the forefront of the industry.’

‘Tom Bennett provides insightful observations.’

‘The team is very personable and has widespread capability. If one person does not know the answer, there will be someone in the team with the requisite knowledge we require. There is excellent contact either via phone, email or in person. They are never hard to get hold of. They have excellent drafting skills and requisite knowledge of the law and associated risks. They will work with you and take up as much or as little of the brief as I require, and they do not dominate or try to squeeze extra legal fees. They are very professional and brilliant to deal with.’

‘Jonathan Simons is always available when needed. He provides quick turnaround of work, excellent drafting skills, excellent knowledge of subject matter and foresight into risks around particular options. He is very personable but obviously very smart.  He thinks outside the box and is creative in his problem solving, and gives very fast turnaround but excellent quality work – something which we value highly.’

‘The team is relaxed but super capable. It has a great culture – easy to work with and collaborative. They give honest and upfront feedback.’

Key clients

Auckland Council

Auckland Transport

Panuku Development Auckland

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development Limited

BNZ Branch Properties

Goodman Property

Precinct Properties

Landcorp Farming

Vodafone

Christchurch International Airport

Christchurch City Council

Office of Treaty Settlements

Top Garden Property Developments

Waikato District Council

The University of Auckland

Waikato District Health Board

Northland District Health Boar

Work highlights

  • Acted for BNZ, who was in the market for a Wellington office tower to house its staff in one central location following damage to (and subsequent demolition of) BNZ Harbour Quay as a result of the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, which resulted in BNZ staff occupying a variety of offices across Wellington. The matter was negotiated under urgency and required a number of complex negotiations over surrender rights, earthquake design (and associated risk allocation), damage and destruction risk and insurance issues.
  • Acted for Auckland Council, who is offering a 125 year leasehold interest in a TOD over the Aotea Station that forms part of the City Rail Link project. This is the first TOD arising out of the CRL Project and sits within the Aotea Quarter entertainment precinct largely owned by Council.
  • The City Rail Link (CRL) project is New Zealand’s largest infrastructure project with a projected completion cost of NZ$4.4bn. In 2019 and 2020, the firm acted for Auckland Council and Auckland Transport on the project alliance agreement for packages C3 (Tunnels and stations), C5 (Western line) and C7 and C7 (Systems, integration testing and commissioning) and related governance arrangements between Auckland Transport, KiwiRail, City Rail Link Limited and the Link Alliance.

DLA Piper New Zealand

The practice at DLA Piper New Zealand is part of a global network, so frequently acts for domestic and international clients on the local law aspects of multi-jurisdictional projects. It also handles significant domestic matters in its own right, among them large and complex real estate and construction transactions, acquisitions and disposals, development projects and the management of substantial real estate portfolios. It also has recognised expertise in the PPP and projects space. Its construction practice draws upon the firm's prominent role in the insurance sector to handle front-end matters and disputes. Justin March and Mark Williamson in Auckland lead the group. Up-and-coming partner Heath Brunton is recommended for development projects and design-build-lease agreements for office and industrial premises.

Practice head(s):

Justin March; Mark Williamson

Other key lawyers:

Heath Brunton; Davida Dunphy

Testimonials

‘The team has an in-depth knowledge of our business structure and company’s history which makes them an extension of our in-house legal team and enables it to provide bespoke, quality advice to fit our needs.’

‘It is technically excellent and has a great understanding of our company which makes it very valuable.’

‘I have full accessibility to the partner who is extremely responsive – often I require extremely tight turnarounds – and transparent. I not only require legal advice but also a commercial approach and this is the service I receive.’

‘Lawyers need to provide not only legal advice but in a commercial manner and without fail, I always receive this service from Davida Dunphy.’

‘DLA Piper was my first choice of firm to work with our establishment. I was absolutely thrilled when they said they would become a pro bono partner for our organisation. Over the last year they have assisted in many fields, including the formation of the organisation and filing appropriate documentation with the Charities Office. We are heavily reliant on funding from industry, so the creation of contracts with funding partners has enabled us to have the assurance that funds are sustainable, and also funders have transparency as to where their monies are allocated.’

‘What has impressed me most about working with DLA Piper has been their total buy-in to the cause that we are advocating for. All the firm’s partners I have worked with, inclduing Davida Dunphy and Mark Williamson, have supported and promoted the work we do. We have also explored ways in which to integrate our programme into the operations of DLA Piper, which is something I am looking forward to doing.’

‘Over the time I have worked in New Zealand’s construction industry I would have to say that DLA Piper has been the most generous law firm I have worked with, nothing is too hard and when I have felt like I had a lot of questions, especially with a start-up, they have reassured me that they are here to support. Having worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years, I have been fortunate to have been supported by many pro bono partners including other law firms, however I would definitely say that DLA Piper has a noteworthy manner of being both approachable and friendly. They also do very well to translate legal terms into layman’s language so we understand processes.’

‘The firm has sound knowledge and abilities.’

‘Justin March has intimate knowledge of leases, especially during Covid times. Heath Brunton is great at working with Development Agreements.’

‘The team is very agile and can respond to queries at a moment’s notice. They are always on hand to give clear, concise and informed advice no matter how trivial. They are experts in their field.’

‘Heath Brunton and Justin March are very approachable. They are extremely knowledgeable in their fields and always on hand to take a call and help out where they can. They go above and beyond call of duty to provide expert advice across all of our property matters.’

Key clients

Foodstuffs North Island

Auckland Council

Goodman Property Trust

Fletcher Building

IAG New Zealand

Cornwall Park Trust Board

Cathay Pacific

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Mondelēz

Television New Zealand

Happy Valley Nutrition

Tamaki Regeneration

Wellington Water

Nelson City Council

Tasman District Council

QBE Insurance

Fletcher Building (Placemakers)

Aon New Zealand

Icebreaker

Work highlights

  • Long-time advisor to Foodstuffs North Island, one of New Zealand’s largest grocery distributors with real estate assets of around NZ$1.8bn, on its extensive real estate portfolio, and strategic acquisitions and development.
  • Advised Auckland Council on all aspects of the procurement process for at least one food scraps processing plant which is the first of its kind in New Zealand.
  • Advised on the sale of General Electric Healthcare’s USD21.4bn global biopharmaceutical business to Danaher Corporation across multiple jurisdictions involving New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, China, Korea, Japan, Germany, USA, Austria and Sweden.

Hesketh Henry

Hesketh Henry in Auckland has developed a prominent position in the construction market. The team's specialist construction skills combine with property law, insurance, transport and insolvency expertise to provide a comprehensive service. The real estate team focuses on large and complex commercial property acquisitions by local and foreign investors. It also provides regulatory advice on the development of retirement villages. Nick Gillies leads on construction, while Brian Coburn and Robert Berry are co-heads of the real estate group. The firm also excels in contentious construction matters thanks to litigators Helen Macfarlane and Christina Bryant.

Testimonials

‘The team has real life experience of working in the sector, so has impressive depth of sector knowledge. Partners Helen McFarlane and Nick Gillies, and senior associate Glen Holm-Hansen stand out.’

‘They provide pragmatic and commercially astute legal advice and show a willingness to engage and consider alternative solutions.’

‘The team is knowledgeable, professional and attentive. Attention to detail was good on a recent complicated matter where they provided a very good service to us.’

‘Nick Gillies is highly regarded nationally for his skill and experience in complex commercial construction disputes. I found him very astute in his dealings with the matter. He forged a path to a negotiated settlement in difficult circumstances whilst balancing the varied expectations of our team. Glen Holm-Hansen was also excellent. Both were prompt in responding to our queries and requests for guidance.’

‘Hesketh Henry has a strong specialist construction team which is very client focussed and has excellent industry knowledge.’

‘Nick Gillies is a strong commercial construction lawyer with significant expertise with disputes. He is an excellent communicator, he is client-focussed and he takes a constructive and collaborative approach. Christina Bryant is a very experienced advocate with deep industry knowledge and a strong client focus.’

Key clients

AECOM New Zealand Ltd

McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd

Broadspectrum (New Zealand) Ltd

Fulton Hogan Ltd

Naylor Love Ltd

Form Building & Development Ltd

CMP Construction Ltd

Russell Group (including Dominion Constructors Ltd)

WSP Opus

Stantec New Zealand Ltd (previously MWH)

Kahawai Point Development

Plus Construction Co Ltd and Plus Pacific United Ltd

Vero Insurance New Zealand Ltd (part of the Suncorp Group)

Juken New Zealand Ltd

Symonite (part of the Heco Group)

Synergy Properties 27 Ltd

The Melanesian Mission Trust Board

Wellington Investment Group Ltd

Molesworth Investments Limited

Vladi Private Islands GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advised Kahawai Point Development on its land acquisition and development, property sales, and its construction contracts and related issues/disputes.
  • Advised Wellington Investment Group in relation to the purchase of a high-profile office tower building in the heart of the Government Precinct.
  • Acted for Vero in relation to two multi- unit complexes in Christchurch which suffered damage as a result of the Canterbury Earthquake sequence.

Thompson Blackie Biddles

'A great team doing great work', is how one client succinctly describes the practice at boutique property firm Thompson Blackie Biddles in Auckland. They are 'experts in real estate law who work well as a team and provide sound commercial advice with a focus on solutions', remarks another. The firm focuses on high-end and specialist real estate matters including acquisitions, leasing and development projects. The lead partners - Greg Thompson, James Blackie, Joe Biddles and Sam Greenwood - are heavily involved in all matters, bringing to bear many years of market experience for a diverse client base that includes New Zealand and offshore listed property entities, unlisted private companies, property funds, syndicators, high-net-worth individuals and charitable entities.

Other key lawyers:

David Simpson

Testimonials

‘The team has experts in real estate law and have a great mix of senior partners and intermediate lawyers that work well as a team and provide sound commercial advice with a focus on solutions.’

‘They are commercially astute and focused on getting the best outcome for us in the deals we are involved in. This commercial focus is combined with a detailed knowledge of real estate law.’

‘The team is incredibly commercial in its dealings which makes it a real value-add entity when it comes to property law matters. A specialist firm like this delivers a superior resource compared to multi-disciplinary firms.’

‘Joe Biddles is a great communicator and can quickly grasp complex situations which allows him to offer solutions in a timely manner. Joe empowers his team of associates so that they can also deliver good quality outcomes.’

‘It has a good range of quality staff who are very responsive to urgent requirements.’

‘Sam Greenwood is very knowledgeable, able to come up with practical solutions and meet deadlines. David Simpson, likewise, has good knowledge and is well-organised to ensure progress is made.’

‘It is a specialist property legal team. They have impressive skill. They are technically astute. They are very commercially-minded. They are fun to work with.’

‘Sam Greenwood and David Simpson are an excellent team who compliment each other. They are accurate and technically and commercially correct. They offer their opinion on what is needed to get a deal done. They are relationship-focused.’

‘A great team doing great work.’

‘Joe Biddles does great work and has a great attitude.’

Key clients

Goodman Property Trust (NZX Listed)

Precinct Property Holdings Limited (NZX Listed)

Kiwi Property Group Limited (NZX listed)

Stride Property (NZX listed)

Investore Property (NZX listed)

Todd Property

Robt. Jones Holdings Limited

Wyborn Group

Oyster Property

KKR / Oyster Property JV

Wilson Parking New Zealand Limited

Lion – Beer Spirits and Wine (NZ) Limited

Roxy Pacific

Blackstone/151 Property

Trust Investments Management

Hallenstein Bros. Limited/Glassons Limited (NZX listed)

Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MYR listed)

Mansons TCLM

Wilshire Property Group

Higgins Family Holdings Limited/Frances Holdings Limited

Ladstone Holdings Limited

Spotlight Group

Newcrest Group

Ngati Whatua Orakei

Ngati Whatua O Kaipara Whenua

Te Arawa Group

Ariadne Marinas Oceania Pty Limited/Orams Group Limited

Fort Hill Property Ltd

Tim Glasson

Krukziener Property

Wendy’s Restaurants

Silverfin Property

Work highlights

  • Acted for Precinct in relation to all its office leasing requirements on its flagship Commercial Bay development (including both the PWC Tower and One Queen).
  • Represented Ariadne Marinas Oceania Pty Limited and Orams Marine Services Limited in the negotiation and acquisition of development rights at Site 18 at Wynyard Quarter and includes procuring a development agreement with Panuku (Auckland Council’s asset owning entity) to develop a Marine Facility, Commercial office and residential development on land known as Site 18.
  • Acts for Investore Property Limited in relation to the recent acquisition from Stride Property Limited of Bayfair Shopping Centre, Bunnings Mt Roskill and Mt Wellington Shopping Centre.

AlexanderDorrington Ltd

AlexanderDorrington Ltd in Auckland is a boutique property firm that is most widely known for its residential development practice. Clients note that it has 'an ability to listen to what we are trying to achieve without trying to fit us into a predefined box'. The firm continues to expand its work in the community housing sector, as well as handling a growing volume of commercial property matters. The vastly experienced Denise Marsden leads the residential development practice, with commercial property partner Jourdan Griffin also playing a central role.

Practice head(s):

Denise Marsden; Jourdan Griffin

Testimonials

‘We came to this practise after talking to multiple other firms about a novel development we were undertaking that was far from standard. While all other firms confidently told us they could solve all our problems, AlexanderDorrington demonstrated an immediate understanding of the main issues we’d be facing and an ability to listen to what we were trying to achieve without trying to fit us into a predefined box.’

‘The firm gives clients confidence that it is a firm that will look after their interests with professional advise from experienced operators. They are also very empathetic to stressful situations as they arise which makes clients believe they are more than an invoice about to be sent out.’

‘Denise Marsden’s standout feature is her caring attitude towards achieving the best outcome for her clients. Lots of solicitors are competent at what they do but it is special to find someone who cares as well.’

‘AlexanderDorrington provides a friendly pragmatic service to its clients. The team is very experienced, efficient and professional in its processes and delivery. Help is never more than a phone call away with requests dealt with in a timely manner. After many years of service, we still feel valued as a client.’

‘Our “go-to” contact is Denise Marsden who as director of the business sets the tone and the bar high for the others to follow. Great leadership starts at the top and Denise certainly leads her team by example. We enjoy the personal service offered by each of the team and feel at home with our legal requirements.’

Anderson Lloyd

Anderson Lloyd's practice combines expertise in projects and infrastructure, property, banking and finance, and resource management. 'The firm has  a practical style to problem solving and is always efficient and very commercial', remarks one client. Construction, infrastructure and energy sector specialist Anton Trixl in Auckland and property development partner Mike Kerr in Christchurch lead the practice, which also operates from the firm's offices in Dunedin and Queenstown. The 'practical, calm and thoughtfulDan Williams in Auckland is also recommended. The former practice heads Alan Paterson and David Holden left to become sole practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Anton Trixl; Mike Kerr

Other key lawyers:

Dan Williams

Testimonials

‘We have used Anderson Lloyd for the last five years on bank funding, acquisitions of residential and commercial land, joint venture partnerships and associated agreements, civil construction contracts (commercial/residential), litigation and general legal advice. The overall level of service by the whole team and their knowledge and capability is excellent. The team members communicate well with each other and are very client-focused and always respond within very short timeframes.’

‘Mike Kerr in Christchurch is commercial and practical at achieving good outcomes for his client. His knowledge, expertise and time management are exceptional. He also has a fantastic client relationship focus and always takes my calls at any time and has great communication skills.’

‘The firm has  a practical style to problem solving and is always efficient and very commercial. They don’t get excessively stuck on remote legal risks.’

‘Dan Williams is a relatively new partner but he has worked on our matters for many years. He has a practical approach and is always calm and thoughtful.’

‘They always deliver great results and are very responsive.’

Key clients

Tilt Renewables Limited

Christchurch City Council

Dunedin City Council

Waimea Water Limited

Precinct Properties Holdings Limited

Trustpower Limited

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited

Argosy Property Limited

New Forests Asset Management Pty Limited

Silverfin Capital Limited

NZ Retail Property Group Limited

2 Degrees Mobile Limited

Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc.

Chalmers Properties Limited

Foodstuffs (South Island) Properties Limited

Mitre 10 Holdings Limited

Hiringa Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Provided advice to Waimea Water Limited on the original procurement and contract, and have continued to provide advice in relation to Waimea Dam construction issues over 2019 and 2020. Waimea Community Dam is a project 36km south-east of Nelson involving the construction of a dam and reservoir with a capacity of 13m cubic metres.
  • Advising Tilt as lead project counsel on the development of the Waipipi Wind Farm (WWF) – its first New Zealand project since it demerged from Trustpower in 2016. Having successfully brought the project to financial close in September 2019, the firm is continuing to advise as the project progresses.
  • Helped Precinct Properties put arrangements in place for the fit out of 50,000m² of office space for the tenants that will be moving into in Commercial Bay and the surrounding buildings, as well as the core services agreements for the building.

Tompkins Wake

The property practice is the largest group at Tompkins Wake. The firm advises private clients, businesses, developers, investors, end-users, property funds and local government authorities on a range of construction projects, developments, acquisitions, disposals and leasing. In Hamilton, Scott Ratuki leads on commercial property, while local government specialist Peter Duncan is the lead property and real estate partner. Ratuki and Peter Fanning are active in large-scale developments and subdivisions throughout New Zealand. Duncan works with major council clients in the central North Island, while up-and-coming partner Campbell Stewart focuses on Overseas Investment Office and Emissions Trading Scheme compliance. Kate Searancke brings to bear her Maori organisations and iwi matters. Andrew Orme in Rotorua focuses on commercial property and public works matters.

Practice head(s):

Scott Ratuki; Peter Duncan

Key clients

Stark Property

Foster Construction Group

Perjuli Developments Limited

Te Kowhai Estate Limited

FDL Tamahere Limited

River Road North Limited

Hamilton City Council

Work highlights

  • Assisted Stark Property Group/Central Rail Limited Partnership with all facets related to the redevelopment of the Hamilton Central Shopping Centre (now Tristram Precinct). Providing strategic legal advice on the project and development.
  • Advised Perjuli Developments Limited on all aspects of the development of a property development project creating approximately 175 residential sections on the Waikato River over six stages.
  • Property development project for Foster Construction Limited creating a retail and professional office hub with four retail and office buildings and common amenities.

Wynn Williams

Wynn Williams joins the ranking primarily on the strength of its construction litigation practice, although the firm also handles front-end matters involving the drafting and negotiation of construction contracts. The practice is led by contentious construction specialist Rebecca Saunders and litigators Anthony Drake in Auckland and, in Christchurch, Joshua Shaw. Senior associate Joshua Taylor is also active in the area. The team's specialist knowledge of construction law combines with the firm's expertise in finance, business structuring, resource management, employment and regulatory compliance, to provide a comprehensive service to its clients.

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Taylor

Key clients

The Fletcher Construction Company

Queenstown Lakes District Council

Amstar New Zealand Limited

Armitage Williams Construction Limited

Tailorspace Property Limited

Nexus Point Limited

Emerald Developments Limited

KME Services NZ Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Queenstown Lakes District Council on prospective defective building claims in relation to multi-unit and commercial developments.
  • Provided advice and project support to The Fletcher Construction Company Limited in relation to the construction of the Greymouth Hospital.
  • Advised Armitage Williams Construction Limited on construction of the Bush Inn Centre in Christchurch.