Commercial property: elsewhere in the North in North
Archers Law LLP
The ‘proactive’ commercial property practice at Archers Law LLP is regularly instructed by a variety of public and private companies, public bodies including education sector clients, and charities. The team has experience across the full spectrum of property transactions, commercial property developments, and landlord and tenant matters. Recently promoted partner Rachel List leads the department, following the appointment of former practice head Christopher Todd, who remains a key figure in the team, as managing partner. The group is also noted for its use of technology; it has most recently enhanced its capabilities through its use of more sophisticated case management software.
Other key lawyers:
‘Efficient, swift to act and always available on the phone‘
‘Archers is a local practice that really provides great customer service from a dedicated group of partners and associates. The quality of its advice and negotiating skills are first-rate.‘
‘Archers’ commercial property team is made up of a group of knowledgeable, approachable and commercially aware individuals, who provide clients with an excellent-quality service.‘
‘A proactive and caring team which always acts to protect the clients’ interests.‘
‘Chris Todd is calm and collected. Even on occasions when there is bad news, he is not afraid to deliver the news, but is also immediately looking to help and mitigate the effects. The whole department is great to deal with.‘
‘Chris Todd is the most down-to-earth and approachable lawyer despite his managing partner position, and his team echoes his strong leadership. Rachel List is outstanding in delivering legal services and addressing issues on our behalf.‘
‘All my dealings with Archers have been through Rachel List. Rachel always explains complex areas of commercial property law in layman’s terms, offers great advice, and deals with negotiations in a professional and transparent manner. I always sense that she really takes issues to heart, which is something that does not always come across with other practices that I have used. Response times are always prompt.‘
Cameron Hall Developments
The Ethical Housing Company
- Advised The Ethical Housing Company on its first property portfolio acquisition.
- Advised a number of companies sitting within the Altrad Group on a variety of property transactions.
- Acted for bank and borrower on the refinance of the borrower’s agricultural holding of approximately 220 acres.
Baines Wilson LLP
Led by Duncan Harty, the Carlisle-based department at Baines Wilson LLP acts on mandates throughout the Cumbria region and across all key areas of commercial property work. A particular area of strength for the group is in development projects, and it also has extensive experience in landlord and tenant matters. Team founder and former practice head Sean Logue is noted for his ‘deep understanding’ of development transactions.
‘The team is professional and very competent. Always available, or if not immediately available, quick to respond. Prepared to go the extra mile to meet deadlines.‘
‘The commercial property team at Baines Wilson has a deep understanding of the education sector as regards property transactions. We are a private equity-backed business, and Baines Wilson appreciates our need to act at pace. They respond swiftly to queries and provide common-sense advice.‘
‘All of the partners we have dealt with have praiseworthy abilities. We have dealt with them in the context of commercial transactions (buying and selling both property and businesses).‘
‘The standout partner in the team is Sean Logue. He has a deep understanding of our sector, he works at pace and responds swiftly to queries. He does not need to be chased to get on with transactions and his level of client service is exemplary.‘
‘Duncan Harty handles all of our site developments and is assisted, very ably, by several other members of the team. Duncan has a pragmatic approach and identifies solutions rather than problems, whenever possible. As a development company, for whom time is always of the essence, that approach is essential for us.‘
Kingmoor Park Properties
Burnetts’ practice in Carlisle advises an expanding client base on commercial property portfolio management, including property transactions, landlord and tenant issues, and estate management. Of particular note, the team is expanding its practice in the area of landlord and tenant matters, where it acts for franchisee and occupational tenants. Its sector-specific expertise includes leisure and tourism, education, and mines and minerals. Robbie Mather is a key contact for commercial lending work and jointly leads the department with Helen Hayward, who is noted for the breadth of her commercial property experience.
‘Sound commercial advice, responsive, prepared to go the extra mile to get the job done, and well-respected by other commercial lawyers.‘
‘A forward-thinking firm keeping ahead in a competitive legal market.‘
‘Helen Hayward has been outstanding in her approach to our business.‘
‘Robbie Mather shows great depth of knowledge on property matters and delivers in a timely and cost-effective manner.‘
Investacc Pension Trustees
Thomas Armstrong Group
Eden Housing Association
N Family Holdings
Cumberland Building Society
Benton House / CRS (North-East)
McKnight & Sons Builders
G&M Lawson Group
- Assisting the Amsric Group with its pipeline of new projects, including greenfield and brownfield site projects.
- Advising the Thomas Armstrong Group on a wide range of property matters, ranging from site acquisition, set up and plot sales in its residential development division, general commercial property matters from its large property portfolio, and matters relating to its numerous quarry sites.
- Assisting the Cumberland Building Society with the full range of matters relating to its property portfolio.
Swinburne Maddison handles the full range of commercial property issues, and assists a varied client base consisting of predominantly North East-based developers, individuals and not-for-profit organisations, with significant property portfolios. A key selling point for the team is its expertise in property development, making it a suitable destination for landowners seeking to sell assets to developers. The team is also active in the contentious property arena and often cooperates with the firm’s property litigation group. Victoria Walton heads the practice, where clients also praise Kate Stephenson, Simon Robinson and managing associate Gillian Moir.
‘Having worked with Swinburne Maddison for over 20 years, I have seen the company grow and flourish in Durham; the diversity of the practice and the quality of the team of solicitors makes Swinburn Maddison one of the best law firms in the North East.‘
‘Swinburne Maddison is my go-to firm for all commercial property matters. It has a fantastic presence in the area and includes excellent partners to work with. I have total confidence that the work will be done well and on time.‘
‘A regional firm which provides a range of key legal support to our business and development team: land acquisitions, stock acquisitions, development agreements, section agreements and other property-related advice.‘
‘The crucial term here is “team” – if one person is absent, the file is easily picked up by another lawyer.‘
‘Throughout our transaction, Victoria Walton showed professionalism and a depth of knowledge I have rarely come across previously. Victoria seemed to have an inherent grasp of what the issues at stake were. She was also able to dismantle many of the problems for me and provide high-quality legal guidance in a very patient way, which allowed me to grasp some of the more complex legal issues behind what we were trying to do subsequently, thereby allowing a more balanced decision-making process from myself. Whilst I had a narrow view of possible solutions, Victoria was able to suggest and provide additional information and use legal principles which were relevant and added value.‘
‘Kate Stephenson gives an excellent client service. Alongside her great communication style, she works as required to drive deals by providing pragmatic and solution-focused advice.‘
‘I am particularly impressed by Simon Robinson, for whom nothing is ever too much trouble and who seems to always be able to deliver an innovative solution to the most complex issue.‘
‘Victoria Walton and Gillian Moir assisted us with our most recent lease agreement. I have every confidence that they have acted with our best interests in mind. The current lease has been difficult to finalise, but they persevered with the points that we wanted.‘
The Esh Group
The Enquire Learning Trust
The Auckland Project
- Negotiating a development agreement with Teesside International Airport for the development of a business and logistics manufacturing park on 270 acres of land on the south side of Teesside International Airport, following a £23.6m investment by the Tees Valley Combined Authority.
- Acting on behalf of a commercial tenant to negotiate the variation of an existing lease and to agree terms for other ancillary documentation relating to a key location in a retail and entertainment complex within Newcastle City Centre.
- Representing Atom Bank in approximately 55 transactions over the course of 2019 (dealing with a range of instructions including commercial purchases, buy-to-let property portfolios, refinances and consents to lettings), with the total lending value of these transactions estimated at approximately £18m.
At BHP Law, the Darlington-based commercial property team stands out for its specialist expertise in rural diversification issues, on which it advises farmers and landowners. Senior partner Peter Blackett heads up the practice and is noted for his decades of experience acting on commercial property transactions for significant land owners and property developers. The department expanded its offering in property transactions through the arrival of Dermot Winters from Close Thornton in July 2019.
Other key lawyers:
Endeavour Partnership LLP’s team in Stockton has carved out a reputation for acting on commercial development issues, a field in which department head Simon Wake is particularly experienced. Jamie Brown is very active in the agriculture sector, but the group is adept at acting across a broader range of sectors, including leisure, renewables, petrochemicals and franchising. The team also offers property portfolio management services, for which Gareth Jones is the go-to contact.
Investacc Pension Trustees
Homes by Carlton Limited Group
- Advised Benchmark Leisure on all legal documentation for the multi-phase development of The Sands, North Bay, Scarborough.
- Acted for Subzero Middlehaven in securing a deal, initially with the Homes and Community Agency and subsequently Middlesbrough Borough Council, for a long-term development agreement of a snow centre.
- Advised Tomahawk Steakhouses’ group of companies on taking new leases of multiple new premises across the region.
Latimer Hinks Solicitors
Headquartered in Darlington, Latimer Hinks Solicitors is particularly strong in commercial property transactions, on which it acts for a varied client mix consisting of sellers and purchasers, landlords and tenants, and lenders and trustees. The ‘extremely thorough’ Adam Wood leads the department. Agricultural property specialist Nicola Neilson departed to Jacksons Law in May 2019, but the department remains adept at handling acquisitions and disposals of agricultural land due to the expertise of Neil Stevenson in this field.
‘Latimer Hinks shows a high level of professionalism across all departments, in particular commercial property, business and family law matters. The lawyers’ depth of experience also stands out. You always get the impression that you are the only client in their focus.‘
‘Adam Wood has extensive knowledge and is extremely thorough, very personable and understanding.‘
Tilly Bailey & Irvine
Based in Wynyard, Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s commercial property department is led by Sara Garnett. The team’s recent work showcases its strength in the transactional space, where it acts for self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) and small self-administered pension schemes (SSAS) in relation to the acquisition and management of investment properties. The practice also has a solid track record in the acquisition and disposal of development sites; recently promoted partner Andrew Beattie is a standout figure in this regard.
Other key lawyers:
I.P.M. Personal Pension Trustees
Gus Robinson Developments
Ron Perry & Son
Landteam Property Investments
Graham Kennedy / Bells Restaurants
- Acted for I.P.M. Personal Pension Trustees on the acquisition of a long leasehold interest in an office building.
- Acted for a company in connection with the acquisition of a site for development from two landowners, as well as on the onward sale to a housing developer following the grant of planning permission.
- Acted for Gus Robinson Developments in securing a number of sites for residential development.