Commercial property: Liverpool in North West

DLA Piper

DLA Piper UK LLP provides an 'excellent all round service'. The team advises on local, regional and national real estate projects, and is best known for its investment experience where it is regularly instructed by blue-chip clients. Development work is also a strong area for the team which has experience in significant regeneration projects. Philip Rooney has a 'wealth of experience'; Richard Thompson is a key contact for investment work, as is Alison Mills. Legal directors Richard Ascroft and Hannah Cheminais, who handles major development projects, are also key figures. North West real estate department head Mark Beardwood heads the Liverpool-based team.

Practice head(s):

Mark Beardwood 


A very engaging team at all levels, which consistently provides good quality advice.

They team is very commercial and pro-active.

Richard Thompson is extremely commercial, trusted and dependable.

Philip Rooney has an amazing memory and if there is a particularly complex issue he is always happy to give a clear and well advised view.

Mark Beardwood and Richard Ascroft have excellent commercial instincts and have proven to be completely unflappable in the face of very difficult circumstances.

Mark Beardwood has outstanding business and commercial knowledge and understands what is important to the client in legal transactions.

Key clients

Schroder Real Estate Managers

Radisson Hotels

Universities Superannuation Scheme

Picton Capital

MRC Pension Trust

London Borough of Southwark Pension Fund

John Lewis Partnership Pension Fund

CBRE Global Investors

Heineken UK

Liverpool Football Club

Downing Developments

Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council

Elan Homes

St James Place UK

USF Nominees

Pace Trustees

Work highlights

  • Represented Liverpool Football Club in its new £50m training campus development.  
  • Advised new client Radisson Hotels on a £30m hotel development in Liverpool.  
  • Represented group companies of Heineken UK on the packaged disposal of 76 pubs.
  • Advised North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner on the acquisition of a building used as a call centre on St Asaph business park for £2.634m.
  • Advised Downing Developments on the acquisition of a development site in Lambeth with a contract conditional upon obtaining a satisfactory planning consent with complex provisions regarding rights of light, procuring vacant possession and overage.  

Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP  is engaged on property mandates in the North West region and across the UK. It handles commercial and residential development and investment work and it is instructed on property management work, where it has a strong retail sector following. Richard Roberts heads the Liverpool real estate department and also leads the retail and property management team. Iain Gamble acts for landowners and investors; Jeff Gillbanks is active on development work; and senior associate Kevin Manley is active on investment and property management work. Paul Firth is the firm's regional head of real estate.

Practice head(s):

Paul Firth; Richard Roberts

Other key lawyers:

Helen Brown; Iain Gamble; Neil McBurney; Jeff Gillbanks; Kevin Manley; Luke Taylor


They team doesn’t hide behind legal jargon and can be trusted to give advice in a useful manner.

Neil McBurney is very personable which helps to grow a great working relationship.

The team at has a wide breadth of knowledge and experience and it combines this with a practical and commercial approach to provide an excellent overall service.

Kevin Manley is approachable and is always willing to provide expert reasoning.

The team is responsive, understands the market well and is focused on getting the deal done rather than scoring points for the sake of it.

Richard Roberts is an impressive individual who cuts to the real issues very quickly and progresses matters in a very professional manner.

Key clients

Peel Ports Group

McColls Retail Group


Associated British Foods

Peel Land & Property

Gower Street Estates Limited (The Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool)

Investec Wealth & Investment

Liver Buildingco (The Royal Liver Building)

The Merseyside Local Authority Pension Fund

Prospect (GB)

Wainhomes Group

Pavers Shoes




Arnold Clark

TJ Morris (Home Bargains)

James Hall & Co (SPAR)

Halfords Autocentres

The Duke of Norfolk

UK Land & Property

ION Developments

J W Lees (Brewers)

Arbuthnot Latham & Co

Real Good Food

NWF Group

Alpha Leisureplex

Williams Tarr

Rocksavage Investments

Work highlights

  • Advised McColl’s Retail Group on the disposal (by way of sale and leaseback) of 80 of the freehold and long leasehold interests in the properties acquired by McColl’s from the Co-op in 2016-17.
  • Advised Peel Land and Property on the development of a new ferry terminal in Liverpool to serve the Isle of Man.
  • Advised Peel Land and Property on the development of a 193-apartment private rented sector and retail scheme at Chatham Waters in Kent.
  • The team advises Primark on its continuing expansion through new stores, store extensions and asset management matters.
  • The team continues to advise Peel Land and Property on property matters for its strategic redevelopment of derelict dockland at Liverpool Waters.

Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson LLP stands out for its retail, logistics, transport and healthcare expertise. The team is active on property development work and is also noted for its experience in acting for local authority clients. Real estate finance is also a key area of expertise. Martyn McDonald leads the retail property team, recently promoted partner Amanda Hurst leads the national healthcare property team, legal director David Swaffield is 'very experienced' and Liverpool team head Alex McCann is 'very able'. Jim Purves in Manchester is national head of property and construction.

Practice head(s):

Jim Purves; Alex McCann

Other key lawyers:

Martyn McDonald; Claire Cosgrove; Amanda Hurst;  Graham Archibald; David Swaffield


The team offers a coordinated approach.

Alex McCann is very thorough and user friendly; he gets things done.

Key clients

Co-operative Group

Iceland Foods

Peel Group

Liverpool City Council

Kuehne + Nagel

National Express Group

First Group


Mason Partners

Maghull Developments

Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Universities Hospital Trust

Health Education England

North West Ambulance NHS Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Peel Group in respect of a £55m housing joint venture with Urban Splash and a dementia village with Belong, as part of the ‘Wirral Waters’ development.
  • Acted for the family members of Mason Partners in relation to the development and ultimate sale of The Corn Exchange Building, Liverpool for £22.8m.
  • Advised developer Brickland on two major build-to-rent schemes in Liverpool and Manchester worth c£180m.
  • Advised Alexander Hotels on the acquisition of Great Fosters Hotel in Egham for £18.75m
  • Advised National Express on the £11m sale and leaseback and related underletting of a depot near Heathrow Airport.

Weightmans LLP

Weightmans LLP is regularly instructed by public sector clients on a range of  regeneration projects. The education and retail sectors are a key focus and the team is also engaged on residential development projects. Clive Bleasdale leads the local government sector real estate team and stands out for his experience in regeneration projects. Janice Weatherly is instructed by education sector clients and also acts for owner-managed businesses. National head of property operations David Tabinor handles volume real estate mandates, while Matthew Williamson is experienced in retail sector work and Christopher Grady specialises in residential development mandates.

Practice head(s):

David Tabinor

Key clients

Royal Mail Group

British Steel

Liverpool City Council

Denbighshire County Council

Pure Leisure Group

Tipografic (Packaging)

NW Reserve Forces and Cadets


Acorn Developments (Kirkby)

Dibbin Estates

Work highlights

  • The team is advising Liverpool City Council on the £1bn Paddington Village redevelopment project.  
  • Advises British Steel on property management work relating to Scunthorpe Steelworks and its wider property portfolio.
  • Advised S Norton & Co on a conditional contract for the sale of brownfield industrial land subject to receipt of detailed planning consent for hotel, commercial and residential use.  
  • The team advises Sefton Holdings on all aspects of its £28m property portfolio.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP enters into the rankings this year with its growing Liverpool-based real estate practice which handles a range of real estate finance, investment and development work. Team head Andrew Nichol is noted for his real estate finance and investment expertise and 'combines his extensive experience with a commercial approach to transactions and advice; he understands what clients require and manages to "get deals done"'. Nichol is ably supported by Luke Hopkins , who is 'extremely efficient and responsive; he is very experienced in real estate finance', and director Peter Barber, who recently joined from Land Law LLP.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Nichol

Other key lawyers:

Luke Hopkins; Peter Barber


The team is really practical and has great commercial know how.

The team has a strong handle on the local market and is extremely personable.

The firm provides a partner-led service and all matters benefit from the experience and commercial approach of the partners.

The team’s legal expertise in relation to the property and finance sector is second-to-none, however the major strengths is around collaboration and ultimately getting the deal done.

The team’s ability to navigate problem cases is second-to-none.

Luke Hopkins is knowledgeable, quick and excellent to work with.

Key clients

Lloyds Bank


McComb Property Company

Santander UK

Hope Capital

Redwood Bank

Mental Health Care Group

ACM Estates

Roubaix Group

Work highlights

  • Represented Handelsbanken on its refinance of a portfolio of retail assets, which included two shopping centres, a retail park and four high street retail units.  
  • Advised Lloyds Bank on the provision of acquisition finance for the purchase of three retail pharmacies.  
  • Represented Liverpool Edge (Myrtle Street) on a £15m refinance from Santander UK.
  • Represented McComb Property Company on the sale of a Co-Op Convenience store in Ormskirk.
  • Advised McComb Property Company on its acquisition of a block of student housing in Ormskirk.


DTM Legal LLP is instructed by landlords, tenants, developers and investment clients in Liverpool and across the North West. The team is particularly active in the agricultural sector and is often engaged by retail sector clients. Team head Anna Duffy acts for investment and retail clients. Consultant Robert Harris and associate Isabel Rial are also key figures.

Practice head(s):

Anna Duffy

Other key lawyers:

Robert Harris; Isabel Rial


Robert Harris is exemplary; he is able to swiftly and professionally ensure that matters progress and he is never fazed – he just gets the job done.

The team’s attention-to-detail is exceptional.

Not only does the team provide a high standard of care but it is also very personable.


Key clients

The Atmore Group

Carpenters Investments

The Windmill Group

AAH Pharmaceuticals

Handelsbanken Liverpool


Quality Freight

Work highlights

  • Represented Client A on the freehold sale of an anchor store in part of a fully let shopping centre to Company B.
  • Advised the client in the acquisition of a new headquarters and manufacturing site.
  • Advised on the establishment of a £23m mixed-use development scheme.
  • Advised Company A on the grant of a lease of warehouse premises adjacent to new HQ and acted on a £6m BGF investment deal
  • Represented Client A on the grant of a lease of premises on Regent Street from the Crown.

MSB Solicitors Ltd

MSB Law LLP is instructed by a range of regional, national and international property developers, investors, retail organisations healthcare sector clients and charities. The team is also increasingly active in the leisure and hospitality sector. It is instructed by landlords and tenants on commercial lease transactions and advises larger landlords on property management, as well as engaging in residential development projects.  The team is adept at handling property finance mandates.  Neil Kelly heads the team.

Practice head(s):

Neil Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Brad Armstrong

Key clients

Sino Swan Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Sino Swan Holdings on a mixed commercial and residential development, creating 96 residential apartments within Liverpool city centre.
  • Represented a developer in a deal to purchase a car-park which is to be developed into a 126 unit tower.
  • Represented a finance Company in a deal to refinance a part-constructed development of apartments.
  • Represented a multi-million pound turnover restaurant chain on several new premises for its growing restaurant business.
  • Represented well known property developer on a refinance of a partially constructed development of apartments on a partially developed scheme.