Real estate and construction in New Zealand

Bell Gully

Bell Gully 'combines very strong expertise and in-depth knowledge of the field together with a good commercial and efficient approach to transactions', notes one client. Andrew Petersen and Simon Ladd in Auckland and, in Wellington, David Chisnall are the lead partners in the property, real estate and construction practice. Petersen, who counts Tāmaki Redevelopment Company and SkyCity Entertainment Group among his clients, handles corporate, property and Overseas Investment Act matters. Ladd is a leading light in contentious construction matters. Also in Auckland, Jane Holland, who has more than 20 years' experience in New Zealand and the UK, specialises in commercial leasing and development projects. Chisnall has built his expertise over many years in some of the country's most significant property projects, and he the structuring, procurement and delivery of large-scale construction and development projects, as well as acquisitions, disposals and leasing. Newly promoted partner Ian Becke is also recommended.

Testimonials

“The firm shows a high level of professionalism and has solid team depth, with partners and expertise in every field related to real estate.”

“Ian Becke is exceptionally good. We have been working together over five years in many deals on the real estate transaction side and he combines strong expertise in the field, good commercial sense and strong focus on quality and client care. In addition, because of his previous experience in Australia, he is bringing a new level of professionalism to the field.”

“Senior solicitor Jan Chen is very efficient, detailed and thorough in various aspects of the deals we are working on and she is an important asset to the team.”

“The construction team has offered real-time advice based on industry best practice in New Zealand.”

“Ian Becke brings high level experience to the table along with a very personable and friendly approach. He and his team ensure that complex legal ease is unpacked so as the non-lawyers understand. They also ask the right questions, so they understand the risks associated from a practical perspective for a construction project.”

“The firm brings depth of capability, flexibility and a willingness to consider new approaches and ideas.”

“Ian Becke is a knowledgeable, innovative, highly pragmatic and solution-focused lawyer and an astute negotiator.”

“Bell Gully is very professional and has lots of experience. The team points out exactly what we should focus on. And from the minor things to big one, their consulting was reliable.”

“It is the market’s leading real estate practice. It has a very deep pool of expertise across the property team. They cover the market and are very up-to-date with recent market changes and trends, which as a principal investor is critical to being successful in a very competitive investment market.”

“Jane Holland is one of the most experienced and respected property partners in NZ. We have completed multiple billions of transactions with Jane and her team and she has always been nothing short of exceptional.”

“We formed a great working relationship on a very tough and complex deal. Bell Gully’s technical expertise, broad experience and commercial nous were invaluable on the deal. However, the personalities were probably the most important part of making the deal team function so well.”

“Andrew Petersen has a great body of experience which he was able to apply to a unique and complex transaction to help find practical solutions.”

“For construction and leaky building matters, Simon Ladd and Brad Ward provide excellent, timely advice and they are an absolute pleasure to work with.”

“The firm has really valued, trusted advisors on complex deals. The lawyers present as very strategic, out-of-box thinkers work well as a team. They are technically outstanding.”

“Susannah Shaw was outstanding and David Chisnall provided great oversight as partner.”

“Hugh Kettle is just superb.”

“Jane Holland leads a strong team that meets our needs over a wide range of real estate and construction matters. She has complete client focus.”

Key clients

Auckland Transport

ANZ Bank

David Jones

Fletcher Building

Investec Property Limited

Invesco Real Estate

Kiwi Property Group

Port Marlborough

Precinct Properties Limited

Stride Property

Tainui Group Holdings

Tāmaki Redevelopment Company

Tauranga City Council

Vital Healthcare Property Trust

Wellington City Council

PAG Real Estate

Auckland Transport

Department of Corrections

Downer New Zealand Limited

Fletcher Construction Limited

Genesis Energy

Horizons Regional Council

Library Lane Limited

NZ Transport Agency

Precinct Properties New Zealand Limited

Tauranga City Council

Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited

Wellington City Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Precinct Properties on the continuation of its significant office redevelopment projects in the Central Government Precinct.
  • Advising Tainui Group Holdings on the development of a NZ$3bn inland port in the Waikato.
  • Advised the Department of Corrections on a new national Asset Management and Facilities Management Services contract, considered to be one of the most significant outsourcings by the New Zealand Government in recent years.
  • Advising Wellington City Council on a number of significant projects in relation to the on-going transformation of Wellington (the capital city of New Zealand), many of which are valued at more than NZ$100m.
  • Advised CC Hera Trust on the NZ$250m forward purchase acquisition of an office building being developed by Mansons at 155 Fanshawe Street, Wynyard Quarter.

Chapman Tripp

Chapman Tripp plays a prominent role in New Zealand's construction and major projects sector, advising both public and private organisations on innovative infrastructure projects, PPPs, construction disputes and large developments. It is also a leading player in the real estate sector with clients such as Panuku Development Auckland, Fu Wah and Fletcher Residential. Matthew Carroll, who has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating tender and construction documentation for both infrastructure and commercial developments, and specialist construction projects partner Brian Clayton in Auckland, lead the firm's property and construction practice. Mark Nicholson is a leading light in property development, acquisitions, disposals, syndications, leasing and infrastructure. Up-and-coming partner Hamish Bolland is recommended for domestic and international projects in the infrastructure, mining, energy, water, oil and gas, health, commercial, hotel and residential sectors. In Wellington, Greg Wise is recommended for infrastructure, utilities and property matters. Tessa Baker has recently been made a partner.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Carroll; Bryan Clayton

Testimonials

“Chapman Tripp’s real estate and construction practice has one of the few pure construction-focused teams in New Zealand. In addition, they can seamlessly work in with the legal team and the business directly. Easily the best construction team in New Zealand. When it comes to ‘bet the company’ projects, they are easily the best firm in New Zealand.”

“Brian Clayton is outstanding. He leads the team and provides safe guidance of major projects. He is extremely experienced and exceptional in the negotiation room.”

“Hamish Bolland is a good young partner and a safe pair of hands.”

“Jenny Kenyon is a workhorse. She manages her workload with a smile and is extremely pleasant to deal with.”

“Kylie Mutch is a future star. She is much better than her years and one of the best lawyers I have worked with given her years of experience. She will definitely be a construction lawyer receiving significant accolades in the near future.”

Key clients

Blackstone Group

Fletcher Residential

Panuku Development Auckland

Augusta Capital Limited

Hengyi

Tauranga Crossing

Todd Property Group Limited

Wellington City Council

Willis Bond & Co

Fu Wah New Zealand Limited

Ministry of Health

Ministry of Education

Mercury

Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (Solomon Power)

Eastland Group

McConnell Family

Lincoln University/ AgResearch

New Zealand Transport Agency

James Hardie New Zealand

Counties Manukau District Health Board

Work highlights

  • Advised Mercury NZ Ltd on the construction and long-term maintenance of a new 119MW windfarm at Turitea near Palmerston North.
  • Advised global private equity firm Blackstone Group on its acquisition of seven large Auckland office blocks for NZ$635m.
  • Advising the Crown via the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on all property (and commercial) arrangements for the hosting of America’s Cup 36 in Auckland in 2021.
  • Advised Fu Wah (and the development entity Auckland Hotel Investments Limited (AHIL)) on the NZ$250m development of a new international standard 5-star hotel on the Auckland waterfront.
  • Acted for Panuku Development Auckland in the negotiation of an agreement with marine services company Orams for the redevelopment of the marine precinct within Wynyard Quarter in Auckland.

Kensington Swan

Dentons Kensington Swan's national property team has a high profile with the New Zealand Government and attracts a considerable amount of property work for Crown agencies. With strong teams in both Wellington and Auckland, it also advises many large domestic and multinational corporates including McDonald’s, Bridgestone, Goodman Property Group and Fletcher Building on property and construction matters. John Meads in Wellington leads the national property and real estate team and he has 47 years' experience in property and leasing work. Special counsel Helen Brown is one to watch. Ish Fraser is highly skilled in all aspects of office, retail and industrial leasing. Infrastructure projects specialist Paul Buetow and Matthew Ockleston, who is experienced in Public Works Act, infrastructure projects and public law matters, are the lead partners in Auckland. Up-and-coming partner Paula Ormandy, who joined from Bell Gully, is recommended for property development and complex leasing deals.

Practice head(s):

Paul Buetow; Matthew Ockleston

Testimonials

“Although I am Auckland-based I prefer to use the Wellington office for the more complicated lease documentation work in our Wellington portfolio. This is because the office is well resourced and its real estate and construction divisions are highly regarded.”

“My primary dealings are with Ish Fraser who is very commercially minded and has clear thought processes that allow him to articulate sometimes complex issues clearly and concisely.”

Key clients

New Zealand Transport Agency

Ministry of Social Development

Universal Homes

CentrePort Limited

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Limited

Oji Fibre Solutions

Cushman & Wakefield

Halliburton

Downer New Zealand

CPB Contractors (Cimic)

Leighs Construction

McConnell Dowell

Ghella Limited

Dimension Data

Calibre

Hawkins

Naylor Love

Wellington Water Limited

Grand Complex Properties Limited

Guangxi Fenglin Wood Industry Group

McDonald’s Restaurants (NZ)

Unilever

Bridgestone Tyres

Iveco Trucks (a brand of CNH Industrial)

Jones Lang LaSalle

China State Construction Engineering Corporation / China Construction New Zealand Limited

Beijing Engineering and Construction Group and BCEGI New Zealand Co., Ltd.

Xiamen ITG Group / Pointer Investment NZ Limited

Work highlights

  • Working with the New Zealand Transport Agency and its external property management consultants Darroch and Colliers International in relation to the management of its property portfolio.
  • Assisting Grand Complex Properties Limited with the redevelopment of its Grand Arcade complex of mixed-use buildings in central Wellington.
  • Acting for Universal Homes Ltd in the acquisition of a number of properties for intensive residential development.
  • Acting for Pro-Invest Group, which is one of the largest hotel investment platforms in Australasia, in the is development of hotels in Queenstown and Auckland under IHG hotel brands.
  • Acting in a claim brought for defects in a 330-unit apartment block in central Auckland, which is the largest leaky building claim brought to court in New Zealand, with total claim value of up to NZ$180m.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is 'a wonderful firm to work with - the teamwork is seamless and respectful'. The firm has a deep bench of talent in both construction and real estate, handling large transactions and development projects, as well as contentious matters. In Auckland, Janine Stewart leads the construction practice and David Gilbert is head of real estate. Stephen Price is among the country's most esteemed construction disputes lawyers and Sarah Sinclair frequently leads on some the most significant infrastructure and energy projects in New Zealand. On the real estate side, Andrew Monteith advises both public and private sector clients on commercial property transactions. Ross Pickmere and, in Wellington, Patricia Green are respected commercial property and forestry lawyers. Senior associate Miles Dean is a rising star.

Practice head(s):

Janine Stewart; David Gilbert

Testimonials

“Sarah Sinclair is an excellent construction partner and has first-class knowledge in the energy industry.”

“The team is excellent at keeping in-house legal update to date with all matters, issues and processes. The team has a great approach to our legal issues and really understand the business.”

“Patricia Green is an excellent lawyer. She provides standout, practical advice, and takes the time to understand the business and the in-house team. We really value her access and her knowledge of property law within a Government context.”

“I deal with a number of legal firms in New Zealand and what differentiates this firm is it has a wonderful work ethic, while maintaining a very warm and engaging client-centric focus. I have especially enjoyed working with partner Janine Stewart. The teamwork is exemplary.”

“Mark Crosbie and Andrew Monteith are both at the top of their game, and lead strong expert teams. The advice is legally strong, but commercial and practically focussed.”

Key clients

Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Metlifecare

Queenstown Lakes District Council

Ports of Auckland Limited

ANZ

Wellington Gateway Partnership

Booster Financial Services Limited

Stride Property Group

OneFortyOne Plantations

Generus

Work highlights

  • Advising the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development on the KiwiBuild “Buying Off the Plans” Initiative, which provides eligible first home buyers with exclusive access to a range of fixed price modest starter homes.
  • Advising Waitakere Group Ltd, Metlifecare Pinesong Ltd, Forest Lake Gardens Ltd, Vision (Dannemora) Ltd & Metlifecare Coastal Villas Ltd on seeking precedent ruling for one of New Zealand’s largest retirement village operators.
  • Assisting Queenstown Lakes District Council with the Lakeview mixed use development in heart of Queenstown.
  • Assisting Ports of Auckland Limited with the development of a hydrogen production and refuelling facility for Auckland.
  • Acting for Bank New Zealand Limited and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, New Zealand branch as lenders on Blackstone’s first office portfolio acquisition in Auckland.

Simpson Grierson

Simpson Grierson's major projects practice is the lead legal adviser many developments valued at more than NC$1bin, including City Rail Link, Watercare Central Interceptor and the Transmission Gully PPP. The firm has one of the largest property and infrastructure teams in New Zealand, and counts numerous buyers, sellers, developers, landlords and tenants among its clients. Michael Wood leads the real estate practice from Auckland, where Michael Weatherall, who is the immediate past president of the Society of Construction Law (NZ), and Jo-Anne Knight, who represents construction parties and local authorities in building and infrastructure disputes, are the key construction partners. Key partner Greg Towers is a leading name in shopping centre transactions, as well as all aspects of buying and selling commercial property. Up-and-coming partner Nick Wilson is recommended for property, local government and infrastructure matters.

Testimonials

“The thing that makes this practice unique is that it maintains strong links with local and central government agencies that give confidence to and short circuits potential interagency inefficiencies in routine and complex property related transactions.”

“Michael Wood uses plain English in complex transactions. He is responsive and informative when it comes to protecting clients interests, and he brings a level of calmness to multi-agency negotiations, respecting each party’s organisational imperatives. He is a leading advisor in NZ.”

Key clients

Auckland Transport

City Rail Link Limited

Auckland Council

Bunnings Limited

Scentre Group (Westfield)

Kiwi Property Group Limited

Invesco Real Estate

New Zealand Carbon Farming

Porirua City Council

Work highlights

  • Appointed in 2016 and continues to advise CRLL up to execution of the Project documents as the lead legal adviser for the City Rail Link (CRL) Project, which is Auckland Council’s largest infrastructure project, at an estimated cost of NZ$4bn.
  • Acted for Invesco Real Estate on the NZ$214m purchase of 125 Queen Street Auckland (QBE Building).
  • Acting for Auckland Council in the acquisition of properties required for the Eastern Busway project, which includes the construction of new roads, bus lanes, and park and ride facilities.
  • Acted for Invesco Real Estate on the NZ$181m purchase of a ½ share of 23 Albert Street (ANZ Centre).
  • Advising Auckland Council on the acquisition of properties, and associated matters, connected with the renewal of the Northcote Town Centre on Auckland’s North Shore.

Anthony Harper

Anthony Harper is 'very responsive and easy to deal with' and provides 'large firm quality but better value for money', according to one client. The firm's property group handles large-scale commercial and residential developments, syndicated property transactions, hotel projects and foreign investment. The construction practice acts for both principals and the contractors in major infrastructure projects. Tim Barclay in Christchurch leads the property practice, while commercial litigator Karen Kemp, who has a specialist focus on the construction and infrastructure sector, and the 'technically capable, responsive and commercially awareEdward Dunphy in Auckland are joint heads of the construction group. Senior associates Tim Bunker, whose experience includes commercial leasing, acquisitions and disposals, and Jessica Hanning, who handles construction disputes, are rising stars.

Practice head(s):

Tim Barclay; Karen Kemp; Ed Dunphy

Testimonials

“Ed Dunphy is very good – easy to deal with, commercial and practical in his approach.”

“The firm has a pragmatic problem-solving approach.”

“The firm provides exceptional personal service and knowledge of the client’s issues. Ed Dunphy and Tim Barclay are a great team. The have differing expertise which enables them to deal with a broad range of property-related matters for us in an excellent manner.”

“The firm has a pragmatic problem-solving approach and Ed Dunphy is technically capable, responsive and commercially aware.”

Key clients

The Fletcher Construction Company Limited

Rooney Group Limited

Southbase Construction Limited

Nereus Properties Limited

KiwiRail Limited

Higgins Group Holdings Limited

Fulton Hogan Limited

Investore Property Limited

Argosy Property Limited

Hauraki Piling Limited

Woolworths

Goodman Property Trust

Augusta Capital

Stride Property Group

Otautahi Community Housing Trust

CDL Land New Zealand

Tamaki Regeneration

Sarin Group

EziBuy

Arvida

Coca-Cola Amatil

Maat Group

Huadu International Construction/NewUrban Group

Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium, which included The Fletcher Construction Company Limited on its tender for the Central Interceptor project.
  • Acting for Maat Group in the development of a new retail megastore which, once completed, will be the largest single tenant retail store in New Zealand (at 27,000 square metres).
  • Acting for Sarin Group in respect of 8 separate hotel and events centre development projects.
  • Advised Southbase Construction Limited on the pre-construction contract and construction contract for a new 500-bed student accommodation facility to be constructed for the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.
  • Advising Argosy Property on the NZ$65m redevelopment of two sites in Wellington to create 3,000 square metres of prime retail space for an international retailer and an 11 level office tower for a major government department.

Buddle Findlay

Buddle Findlay frequently handles high-profile projects for local authorities, including urban regeneration projects in Auckland, and has specialist expertise in Treaty Waitangi settlements. Daniel Kelleher leads the practice in Auckland and specialises in property law and has extensive experience in property sector, corporate, banking and commercial transactions. Charlotte von Dadelszen is the lead partner in Wellington and focuses on leasing, construction and land-related property advice. The firm is also strong in property finance and handles innovative social housing projects, as well as playing a prominent role in infrastructure projects such as irrigation projects, telecoms projects and PPPs. Auckland Council is among its key public sector clients. 'The firm has good depth in its team and is responsive to deadlines', remarks a client. Tom Bennett, who joined from Bell Gully, handles real estate, construction, procurement and local government matters.

Testimonials

“The firm has  performed strongly for us on lease and sales agreements and has good knowledge of current lease and documentation trends.”

“Tom Bennett has a great understanding of our business and the environment we work in. He is very responsive and proactive with clear, robust and appropriate advice and support. And he is a pleasure to deal with.”

“They have a great team culture and positive ‘can-do’ approach.”

“They are great at communicating. The advice is always pragmatic and in context to the outcomes and the specific risk appetite for the transaction.”

“A really trusted firm. The advice is practical and commercially focussed. It provides superb value for money and really works alongside the in-house lawyers.”

“Charlotte Von Dadelszen and Caitlin Olsen are brilliant lawyers and a great team. They are solutions-focus and practical.”

Key clients

Auckland Council

Auckland Transport

Panuku Development Auckland Limited

BNZ Branch Properties

Goodman Property

Precinct Properties Limited

Landcorp Farming

Vodafone

Christchurch International Airport Limited

Christchurch City Council

Office of Treaty Settlements

Top Garden Property Developments Limited

Waikato District Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Auckland Transport and Auckland Council on City Rail link project construction contracts.
  • Advising Auckland Council on the transfer of the assets of Panuku Development Auckland Limited to Auckland Council.
  • Advised Precinct Properties Holdings Limited on the NZ$10.2m sale of 10 Brandon Street, Wellington to 10 Brandon Street Limited.
  • Acted for Landcorp Farming Limited and Nu-Mega as part of a joint venture arrangement to construct and lease a new dairy dryer plant in the Waikato.
  • Acted for Steel & Tube Holdings Limited in its sale and leaseback of 375 Blenheim Road, Christchurch and re-development and lease of premises at the neighbouring property at 401 Blenheim Road.

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand provides 'exceptional legal support in a timely manner, trying always to give clients the best value'. The real estate and construction practice is part of the firm's global group and acts for a range of blue-chip multinational clients such as Pfizer and Mondelez, as well as domestic developers Fletcher Building and Goodman Property Trust. In Auckland, practice heads Justin March and Mark Williamson lead on real estate and construction respectively. March has 30 years' experience in commercial real estate and counts Foodstuffs North Island among his clients. Williamson handles front-end construction matters for clients in a range of sectors including local government, retail and food manufacturing. New recruit Davida Dunphy, who joined from listed property fund Precinct Properties, specialises in commercial and mixed-use development and regeneration projects for public and private clients. Heath Brunton has 'superior construction knowledge'.

Practice head(s):

Justin March; Mark Williamson

Testimonials

“The firm shows genuine care and dedication to contribute for the greater social good as well a make a shareholder return. It is a genuine philanthropic organisation.”

“The firm shows a willingness to assist our business above and beyond legal matters, social good, learning and development.”

“The real estate and construction team has a broad range of experience and brings commercial reality to transactions.”

“Justin March has a wide range of property legal experience, and Williamena Sim has an eye for detail in pulling together a transaction.”

“The team is proactive and down to earth. It does not overcomplicate or make things bigger than they need to be.”

“Davida Dunphy has been outstanding to work with. Her availability, turnaround time and commercial advice has added value in every transaction we have worked on together.”

“Davida Dunphy understands clients’ needs and adapts to ensure the experience is painless even when dealing with extremely stressful situations.”

“Deadlines are always met – even when unreasonable – and always with a level of calm.”

“They are readily approachable and it is easy to discuss any issues.”

“We have dealt with Justin March for many years now. He has a great understanding of how we like to approach agreements and how best to document what we require. I find he has a good understanding of what is an important issue to stay firm on and what is acceptable to vary our position on.”

“The firm has very good industry knowledge and experienced partners, and delivers good client care.”

“Mark Williamson is a very good construction lawyer, very knowledgeable.”

“Justin March is a very good property lawyer – very experienced with good client knowledge.”

“Heath Brunton is a very good property and construction lawyer.”

“I have worked with my other firms and lawyers who have been very good but I have found Davida Dunphy to operate at a superior level. My role is hectic and I need someone I can rely on for advice, accuracy and expediency.”

Key clients

Foodstuffs North Island Limited

IAG New Zealand (NZ’s largest general insurer)

Goodman Property Trust

Fletcher Building

Cornwall Park Trust Board

Metlifecare Limited (NZX listed)

Pfizer

Mondelez

CDL Land New Zealand

WT Partnership

RDT Pacific

Holmes Consulting

Wellington Water

Nelson City Council

Tasman District Council

Greater Wellington Regional Council

Hutt City Council

Upper Hutt City Council

Auckland Council (and for its predecessors prior to amalgamation since 1997)

GMO Renewable Resources (Boston headquartered fund manager)

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

NDG Asia Pacific

Cathay Pacific Airlines (SEHK listed)

Finstar Management

Harvard Management Company, Inc

Kangiora Timberlands

Kainga Consortium

Deka Immobilien Investment GmbH

Murphy’s Park Development LP

Postie Plus (Pepkor)

Aon

Work highlights

  • Advising top 10 New Zealand corporate Foodstuffs North Island Limited on its billion-dollar portfolio of real estate assets.
  • Represented Foodstuffs North Island Limited on the major development of its national head office and distribution centre.
  • Acted for one of the largest UK-based goat dairy farmers, Yorkshire Dairy Goats, on the acquisition of a NZ$16m goat dairy farm.
  • Acted for Foodstuffs on the sale and leaseback of its national head office and distribution centre to NZX listed Goodman Property Trust, one of the largest single asset industrial purchases by value to date in New Zealand.
  • Advised Panuku Development Auckland Limited on the transfer of its NZ$800m property portfolio to Auckland Council.

Hesketh Henry

Hesketh Henry in Auckland provides 'very practical and pragmatic advice, delivered well'. Another client remarks that the firm is known for 'advice which you can clearly trust and rely on, with all avenues covered'. The firm is involved in some of the largest and most contentious infrastructure projects. Its real estate clients include international investors, retirement village operators, property developers, church and iwi organisations. Nick Gillies and Christina Bryant are the key construction partners, while Robert Berry and Brian Coburn lead the real estate practice. Gillies and Bryant are experienced litigators with specialist expertise in construction and property disputes. Berry acts for corporates, not-for-profit organisations and individuals in property transactions, and Coburn handles the acquisition and leasing of commercial office buildings and advises operators in the retirement village industry.

Testimonials

“The firm provides no-nonsense advice, explained clearly.”

“The firm, particularly Nick Gillies, provides proactive, professional and to the point advice.”

“The firm has a great depth of knowledge and experience but the advice is always delivered in a commercially focused manner. Accessibility to and commitment of senior partners is a key strength. The client is always consulted before work passed to associates or senior solicitors. It has a pragmatic approach to all issues.”

“It provides honest, robust and commercially focused legal advice, which is important in a dynamic industry. The standout lawyers are partner Nick Gillies and senior associate Glen Holm-Hansen.”

“The team concentrates on contractor-side construction law support, so it understands the contractor’s perspective and risks.”

“Nick Gillies has exceptional industry knowledge.”

Key clients

AA Insurance

AECOM

CMP Construction

Mainmark

McConnell Dowell

Stantec (previously MWH)

Vero Insurance

XLam NZ

Ngati Tama Custodian Trustee

Norman Glass Services Ltd

Pact 2086 Trust

Speldhurst Country Estate

Vladi Private Islands (Pacific)

Juken New Zealand

Kahawai Point Development

Palms Lifestyle Villages

Richmond Villas

Work highlights

  • Registered a caveat on Norman Glass Services Ltd’s behalf against the title of a commercial building, as holder of a right of first refusal under a lease.
  • Act for Wellington Investment Group Ltd in respect of that company’s purchase of a premium commercial office building in Wellington’s Parliamentary Precinct.
  • Acting for Ngati Tama which is a Taranaki Iwi (tribe) in respect of negotiating and documenting an agreement with the Crown (acting through New Zealand Transport Authority) for an acquisition pursuant to the PWA of part of Ngati Tama’s land for the purposes of a state highway.
  • Acting for the Pact 2086 Trust (Trust), which is the owner of the Willowford forest land (including trees), located near the city of Napier, New Zealand, in an agreement to sell the trees by way of a registered forestry right

Russell McVeagh

At Russell McVeagh 'the team is highly responsive and provides an excellent due diligence service when examining and preparing legal documentation'. One client praises the firm's 'clear advice, timely responses and good knowledge of the construction industry'. The firm's front-end real estate practice is frequently involved in high-value transactions, including instructed in relation to high-profile development projects and capital markets transactions. Its construction practice acts for significant clients such as Precinct Properties and Vector. The Auckland office has four strong partners focused on real estate matters - chair of the property and construction group Ed Crook, deputy chair David Butler, real estate development projects and capital markets specialist Steve Rendall, and Property Council of New Zealand's National Council member   Anna Crosbie. It also has a highly skilled construction litigation partner in Polly Pope.

Testimonials

“Anna Crosbie is always very considered and contemplates risks, then provides solutions to them.”

“Dave Butler and his team are fantastic to deal with. They are approachable, knowledgeable and give down to earth advice that is on point. We have done several large projects with the team and we know that they will always deliver good advice and help us to work with other partners in the firm to fill any gaps. We would all recommend them to anyone who needs a good law firm and they are good value for money.”

“Dave Butler is a really good team player and is prepared to listen to us and work with us.”

“The Russell McVeagh team has knowledgeable experts in their field. This, coupled with the depth of their experience, enables them to give first-class practical legal advice. The team has been advising us for a number of years and the knowledge of our business, and the drafting of legal advice with that in mind, is what differentiates them from other firms.”

“Anna Crosbie is a pleasure to work with. Her advice is always spot on and she has a real interest in her clients and understanding the context in which advice is being sought. As well as being extremely knowledgeable, Anna is approachable, passionate about what she does and a real team player.”

“David Butler is client-focused and committed to delivering a high-quality advice. He is flexible in his thinking and offers solution-focused advice.”

“Senior associate Caleb Hensman drives transactions forward and is a reliable point of contact.”

“The team is knowledgeable and very good to work with. It provides clear and unequivocal advice which assists us in making reasoned commercial decisions.”

“The team is responsive and cost-effective.”

“I have worked with the Russell McVeagh property team on the acquisition of a strategic property asset with a number of complexities. Their ability to quickly deal with numerous issues was very valuable and kept the project on track.”

“Anna Crosbie gives commercially focussed advice and works well under pressure. Her technical skills are also excellent and you know that your property matters are in safe hands.”

“The firm has a very strong team for real estate law.”

“The lawyers we deal with are very responsive to needs, in particular Steve Rendall and Natalie Sundstrom.”

“This team has fantastic depth across a broad range of real estate areas. They are highly responsive, efficient and commercial.”

“Dave Butler is an outstanding lawyer and negotiator – the kind of guy you want to have on your side of the table. His confident, measured and pragmatic approach enables speedy resolution of roadblocks.”

“A highly knowledgable and commercial team that is are solutions-based and pragmatic. They provide clear and concise advice, with a clear recommendation for a way forward. They provide their opinions on the best commercial decisions when navigating through situations, with advice based on their knowledge of our business and ownership structure.”

“I like that the team provides their opinions – their advice has a clear direction, with an outline of the risks associated with a path and the rationale around this being the best way forward. Both Steve Rendall and Ed Smithies are great communicators. I always feel I clearly understand the advice being given and potential ramifications of the decisions made.”

“From a litigation perspective, Will Irving is also very good at outlining potential risks whilst providing a way forward to achieve our desired outcome. All members of the firm are responsive and a pleasure to deal with.”

Key clients

Precinct Properties New Zealand Limited (Precinct)

Goodman Property Trust

PSPIB/CPPIB Waiheke Inc. (the NZ PSP/CPP fund)

Oyster Property Group Limited

Mobil

Kiwi Property Holdings Limited

Drury South Limited

Scentre Group

Auckland International Airport Limited

Vector Limited

SC Capital Pte Limited

Work highlights

  • Represented the NZ PSP/CPP fund in the NZ$81.7m sale of a major shopping centre asset.
  • Represented Oyster Management Limited in the NZ$50.5m purchase and syndication of the property at 33 Corinthian Drive, Albany.
  • Represented Kiwi Property in selling the NorthCity Shopping Centre for NZ$100m.
  • Represented Macquarie Group and Logos Property in acquiring a strategic development site in South Auckland for NZ$54.75m.
  • Acted for Goodman in acquiring strategic and highly sensitive development site in South Auckland.

Thompson Blackie Biddles

Thompson Blackie Biddles in Auckland 'has made a big impression in the market and the advice it provides is practical, commercial and strategic', according to one client. Established as a specialist commercial property law firm in 2012, the firm has become a leading adviser on property matters to  listed property trusts, multinational organisations, NZX-listed entities, property funds, corporate receivers, residential and commercial property developers, construction companies and high net worth individuals and families. The firm's four partners Greg Thompson, James Blackie, Joe Biddles and Sam Greenwood are recognised experts in their field. Thompson has 39 years' experience in transactional work, strategic advice and REITs. Blackie is a transactional and development specialist who acts for some of New Zealand’s largest property companies and offshore entities. Real estate, development and leasing specialist Biddles is currently acting for Goodman Property Trust in the sale of its industrial property estate in Henderson.

Testimonials

“Thompson Blackie Biddles has an ability to provide clear, nuanced advice that we can apply to commercial situations.”

“Greg Thompson combines outstanding legal knowledge with a broad depth of commercial experience. This means we get outcomes that work for our business.”

“Senior solicitor Tom McGarry is highly responsive and engaged with our needs.”

“The team is focused, specialised and good value for money.”

“Joe Biddles has very strong skills, a high level of commitment and a pleasant manner.”

“Joe Biddles and David Simpson are very ‘hands-on’ and attentive to our needs. They understand our commercial needs as well as the risk profile of our directors, and this then translates into the deals. They are very commercial and pragmatic.”

“The team has commercial knowledge and acumen. They are aware and up-to-date with market dynamics and issues that have relevance to my firm. They provide clear and accurate advice in a timely manner, and they are pragmatic with good attention to detail.”

“Sam Greenwood has great knowledge and expertise in the Auckland market concerning all aspects of commercial law, property transactions and relevant case law and other issues which impact and influence our business from a legal perspective. He is pragmatic as well as commercial and provides clear and succinct advice to us when called upon.”

“The firm has specialist real estate skills and strong commercial acumen, and it is relationship-driven.”

“Joe Biddles is a responsive and talented real estate lawyer. Lesley Thompson is an efficient and diligent legal executive.”

“The firm has strong commercial acumen, is solutions-focused, and shows deep technical knowledge. It is well connected across the property and construction industry, giving it current and relevant insight and knowledge.”

“James Blackie is clear and thorough on technical matters while also able to step back and consider the big picture. He makes sure large and complex situations are well resourced and negotiations kept on track.”

“Always accommodating and willing to work alongside their client to achieve practical and workable outcomes, the firm can easily deal with complex issues and provide a level of comfort that allows you to confidently transact knowing they have taken care of the legal elements.”

“They are committed, intelligent, very knowledgeable in their area of law and are well respected within the industry.”

“The team has an in-depth understanding of the client’s business sector. This is combined with a conscious effort by the partners to obtain an understanding of the objectives and approach of the client. This includes the level of risk that the client is willing to accept. This adopted approach means that the advice we receive aligns with the way we do business.”

“As a property specialist firm, the depth of skill and experience is exceptional. It is the leading specialist property law firm in New Zealand.”

“The quality of the advice is consistently at the highest level. The advice and recommendations are refined for our business which also provides efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the legal advice we receive.”

“Sam Greenwood – with a double degree in law and property – is uniquely qualified to understand this specialty sector. While his legal skills are outstanding, when combined with his in-depth knowledge of the property industry he is best positioned to serve clients. He is articulate with a strategic approach. Very clever and client-focused, and a great team player.”

Key clients

Goodman Property Trust

Precinct Properties

Oyster Property Group

Kiwi Property Group Limited

Todd Property

Robt. Jones Holdings Limited

Wyborn Group

Wilson Parking New Zealand Limited

Lion – Beer, Spirits and Wine (NZ) Limited

Roxy Pacific

Stride Property

Trust Investments Management

Hallenstein Bros. Limited / Glassons Limited

McConnell Property

Mansons TCLM

Wilshire Property Group

Icon Commercial

Blackstone / 151 Property

Ngati Whatua Orakei

Ngati Whatua O Kaipara Whenua

Te Arawa Group

94 Feet

Fort Hill Property Ltd

Tim Glasson

Krukziener Property

Wendy’s Restaurants

Newcrest Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for the 94Feet and Augusta joint venture bid to undertake development of the 30,944m² Lakeview precinct in Queenstown. 
  • Acted for the purchaser (a limited partnership comprising KKR and Oyster) in relation to New Zealand’s second largest commercial office transaction with a total acquisition price exceeding NZ$200,000,000.
  • Acting for Precinct Properties in negotiation of agreements to lease with various tenants of the Commercial Bay Tower and Precinct’s related development of No. 1 Queen Street.
  • Acting for Lamont & Co in relation to its development of SKHY 2 and Fabric of Onehunga including drafting pre-sale agreements, undertaking a unit title development and ultimate settlement of all apartments.
  • Acted for Templeton in relation to its NZ$85m NXN Apartment development in Kingsland.

AlexanderDorrington Ltd

AlexanderDorrington Ltd is best known for residential and commercial real estate work and it has one of Auckland's most prominent residential development practices. The firm has 'an exceptional team that is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of property, development and finance'. Highly respected property partner Debra Dorrington, a former member of the NZLS Property Law Section and a Director of NZLS CLE Limited, is 'absolutely superb'. 'Standout partner' Denise Marsden is 'a very pragmatic problem solver who finds ways to work out solutions rather than sending pointless letters that invoke terse responses'. She is particularly notable for property development, unit titles, hotel management rights and construction. Jourdan Griffin leads the firm's commercial property work.

Testimonials

“Denise Marsden is amazing. Her knowledge of property law is spectacular which she freely shares with her clients so that we can work to improve our business, understanding of legislation and our communications. She has a wonderful approachable personality and is clearly great at leading her team, there are zero errors on her work and she is always available to us.”

“The team is well-managed. The lawyers have got to know us and our business well, and have served us very well in the various deals that we have had over the last four years.”

“We have been consistently impressed with the professionalism and high-quality service we have received from AlexanderDorrington.”

“Associate Christine Cechova is super switched on and always a pleasure to deal with! Her work is top notch.”

“The firm is experienced and knowledgeable about the building and construction sector.”

Anderson Lloyd

Anderson Lloyd has a national property practice that spans its offices in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown. In Dunedin, the firm has a 150-year history and is the dominant real estate practice with clients such as Port Otago Limited. In Queenstown, the property practice has acted on numerous new real estate developments and town centres including Shotover Country, Wyuna Preserve and Jacks Point, and is a key adviser to agribusinesses on property transactions. In Christchurch, Foodstuffs South Island Limited and Christchurch City Council are among its key clients. The team is led from Auckland by head of the property and private client Alan Paterson and head of construction and projects David Holden. The construction practice is frequently involved in major renewable energy, water conservation, water storage and irrigation projects. Senior associate Dan Williams is a rising star.

Practice head(s):

Alan Paterson; David Holden

Other key lawyers:

Anton Trixl; Dan Williams

Testimonials

“It is a modest-sized firm with locations nationally and it provides easy access to partners.”

“Alan Paterson and Dan Williams on the property team show a genuine interest in the success of the business, which works for all rather than being solely driven by extracting maximum short time fees.”

“The firm provides prompt service with clear, intelligible communication and integrity.”

Key clients

New Forests Asset Management Pty Limited

Argosy Property Limited

Waimea Community Dam Limited

Tilt Renewables Limited

Dunedin City Council

Pacific Partnerships Pty Limited

Public Infrastructure Partners / H.R.L Morrison & Co

Christchurch City Council

James Kirkpatrick Group Limited

Silverfin Capital Limited

Weiti Development LP

Hancock Natural Resource Group, Inc

Port Otago Limited (including Chalmers Property Limited)

Cornerstone Infrastructure Partners Limited Partnership

Vector Limited

City Rail Link

Ports of Auckland Limited

Foodstuffs (South Island) Properties Limited

NZ Retail Property Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Waimea Irrigators Limited on all aspects of the Waimea Community Dam project, including capital raising and governance, as well as advising Waimea Irrigators Limited and Tasman District Council on early contractor engagements, consultancy agreements and the construction contract for the project.
  • Provided advice to the Board of City Rail Link on the contractual arrangements for the largest infrastructure project in New Zealand, and has advised generally on the risk profile for the project.
  • Advised Te Runanga O Toa Rangatira Incorporated (Ngati Toa) on the establishment of community housing in Porirua.
  • Advising Dunedin City Council on its LED streetlight replacement programme tender, including the preparation of tendering documents, the drafting of construction documents and advising on negotiations with the preferred tender.
  • Acting for the Cornerstone Infrastructure Partners consortium on its successful bid for the Waikeria Prison Development PPP project.

Tompkins Wake

Property is the single largest practice area at Tompkins Wake, which joins the ranking this year. The firm acts for private clients, businesses, developers, investors, end-users, property funds and local government authorities in construction projects, developments, acquisitions and disposals, and leasing transactions. The firm has a particularly strong SME client base, and its new AdviSME service is designed especially to simplify access to legal services for SMEs. Commercial property specialist Scott Ratuki and property and real estate practice head Peter Duncan are the key practitioners. Ratuki and Peter Fanning are recognised experts in large-scale developments and subdivisions and is frequently involved in large developments in Hamilton.

Practice head(s):

Scott Ratuki; Peter Duncan

Key clients

Foster Construction Limited

Stark Property Limited

Ata Rangi 2015 Limited Partnership

Work highlights

  • Advised development company Stark Property/Central Rail Limited Partnership in the redevelopment of Hamilton Central Shopping Centre.
  • Represented Foster Construction in the NZ$13m redevelopment of a commercial office building.
  • Advised Perjuli Developments Limited on a NZ$26m large-scale residential subdivision.
  • Advised FDL Tamahere Limited on the NZ$20m acquisition and development of a community retail hub in Tamahere.
  • Advised Te Kowhai Estate Limited on a large-scale residential subdivision.