Commercial property in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody’s market-leading reputation is underpinned by its breadth and depth of expertise, as well as its involvement in complex mandates that require specialist advice in areas such as planning, environment, finance and construction. Tracey Schofield leads the team, which excels in acting for institutional investors on their most strategically significant investment transactions in Northern Ireland. It is also highly active in development projects; in one matter, recently-promoted partner Gregory Martin is leading a group, which is advising Castlebrooke Developments on the largest redevelopment project ever carried out in Northern Ireland, known as 'Tribeca Belfast'. Elsewhere, the practice is highlighted for its strengths in asset management work, which spans shopping centres, offices and mixed-use properties. In addition, energy projects and student accommodation schemes are other areas of activity. Consultant James Pringle has 30 years of commercial property experience. Senior associate John Tougher is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Tracey Schofield

Other key lawyers:

James Pringle; Gregory Martin; John Tougher; Victoria Howson; Niamh Laverty; Richard McLeany

Testimonials

‘The team have a great depth of experience and have a commercial approach to transactions.’

‘Tracey Schofield is extremely knowledgeable and solutions-focused.’

‘Good communication and negotiation on commercial points.’

Key clients

UBS Group AG

NewRiver REIT Plc

Oakland (FRO) Limited

Castlebrooke Developments Limited

OH (Office) Developments Limited

Gas Network Ireland

LDS Devco Ltd

Oakland (Holdings) Limited

Gardrum Developments Ltd

Wellwood Propco Limited (Lotus Group)

Work highlights

  • Advised UBS Group AG on its purchase of a newly built 8,500 sq. m logistics hub in Titanic Quarter, Belfast pre-let to Amazon.
  • Advised NewRiver on the disposal of part of its ownership in Sprucefield Retail Park, Lisburn.
  • Advised Oakland on the refinancing of Merchant Square in Belfast.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell acts for clients from Great Britain and the island of Ireland on a wide range of high-value and complex real estate matters. Dawson McConkey heads up the team, which is prominent in high-profile investment transactions, lettings and large-scale development projects. The work covers a number of key sectors, including retail, education, transport, manufacturing, leisure and food and drink. McConkey is notably active in the renewable energy sector. In the offices space, Emma Cooper led the advice to PwC on the negotiation of its £70m lease agreement at Merchant Square in Belfast in 2020. Rosemary Carson, who focuses on development and site assembly work, is particularly noted for her work in the retail sector. Mary-Kim Doherty and recently-promoted partner Chris Phillips are also key individuals.

Practice head(s):

Dawson McConkey

Other key lawyers:

Emma Cooper; Rosemary Carson; Mary-Kim Doherty; Chris Phillips

Testimonials

‘Highly approachable team who provide clear, concise advice and are experts at cutting through complicated scenarios and situations to simplify things and achieve results.’

‘Dawson McConkey – exceptional lawyer who brings a common sense solution-focussed approach to achieving the best result for his client.’

‘They were knowledgeable, efficient and helped deliver completion of all transactions within a tight timescale. The fee structure is fair and overall the experience was excellent. Thoroughly recommended.’

‘Dawson McConkey and his team are excellent at what they do and have a strong presence in the market. We dealt mainly with Dawson McConkey – he was very quick to act on all matters and ensure the transactions completed smoothly and without delay. All communication was clear and concise and he was able to give pragmatic solutions and comments on issues where required.’

Key clients

The Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Belfast International Airport

Ulster University

McAleer & Rushe

Queen’s University of Belfast

Mapeley Estates

Rapid7 International

PWC

Investec Bank

Renewable Energy Systems

Work highlights

  • Advised Mapeley Estates on the disposal of the iconic Custom House on Belfast’s waterfront.
  • Advised Lagan Investments on its multimillion pound acquisition of the Currys/PC World superstore at Sprucefield, Lisburn.
  • Advised The Belfast Harbour Commissioners on the disposal of the Amazon logistics base in Northern Ireland.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin has a 'good solid real estate team', which is notably adept in the retail, manufacturing, telecoms, leisure and hospitality sectors. The firm is also a major player in the energy industry, with it having advised clients on large-scale solar and wind energy projects in Northern Ireland. Other cornerstones of the practice include residential and commercial development work, and the firm is also prominent in major office lettings in Belfast and further afield in Northern Ireland. The client base includes public sector bodies, developers, housing associations, household-name retailers and investment funds. Department head Joe Marley works with Kathryn Collie who is skilled in acquisitions and disposals of development land, as well as commercial leasing, among other matters. Alan McAlister and associate Shane Conlan are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Joe Marley

Other key lawyers:

Kathryn Collie; Alan McAlister; Shane Conlan

Testimonials

Alan McAlister has a wealth of experience, gleaned over many years. His legal knowledge is excellent and we know he has been involved in some very significant retail investment deals in recent years.’

‘This practice provides an excellent service meeting our requirements and during the current pandemic have provided innovations in place to continue to service our needs.’

‘CFR offer a good solid real estate team to deal with our acquisition and management requirements.

Their approach is uncomplicated and enables us to ensure our expansion in Northern Ireland is managed with certainty and little risk.’

Key clients

T. J. Morris Limited (t/a Home Bargains)

Hammerson plc

Victoria Housing Estates Limited

InfraStrata plc

Northern Ireland Science Park Property Limited

Invest Northern Ireland

Harry Corry Limited

Primark Stores Limited

Dalradian Gold Limited

ESO Solutions

Kuehne + Nagel

Dune Group

Work highlights

  • Advised T. J. Morris Limited on the acquisition and development of new stores throughout Northern Ireland.
  • Advising Harland & Wolff (Belfast) Limited on the completion of its high-profile acquisition of a Belfast ship yard.
  • Acted for Hammerson (Abbey) Limited on the sale of Abbey Retail Park in what was one of the highest-value property investment deals of the year.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP's real estate team in Belfast, which is jointly led by Andrea McIlroy-Rose and Joanna Robinson, is able to provide a comprehensive service to clients in the UK and Ireland. It also has a leading presence in the local market. Senior associate Jonathan O’Hagan is triple-qualified in England and Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The practice is structured to encompass sub-groups that focus on affordable housing, build to rent, retail, investment transactions and public sector work, as well as property matters connected with the energy, healthcare and education sectors. McIlroy-Rose leads the firm's retail sector and social housing practices, and is also noted for her expertise in the construction and development of mixed-use schemes. Robinson has a specialism in build to rent schemes, and is also experienced in the financing of student accommodation projects. Senior associate Donna Matchett is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Andrea McIlroy-Rose; Joanna Robinson

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan O’Hagan; Donna Matchett

Key clients

Topaz Finance Limited

Uniqlo

Larne Harbour Limited

Barclays Bank

Apex

MedicX

Commerz Real

Kennedy Wilson

Habagou Properties Limited

Fairfield Real Estate Finance Limited

Tughans

Tughans' real estate team is adept in high-level mandates, including flagship investment transactions, residential and commercial development projects, and regeneration schemes. It also handles lettings of offices, and industrial and commercial premises, as well as real estate finance work. With Chris Milligan joining from Arthur Cox Belfast in 2020, the firm has grown its portfolio of work in the energy and infrastructure arenas, particularly in relation to renewables and transport. In addition, practice head David Jones has been instrumental in increasing the firm's involvement in build-to-rent and co-living residential schemes. He undertakes a mix of development, investment and landlord and tenant work. Also notable is that his practice is split evenly between Northern Ireland and England and Wales matters. The team also features Joe Moore, whose expertise includes development projects and business tenancies. Rebecca Moffett  is another key individual.

Practice head(s):

David Jones

Other key lawyers:

Joe Moore; Rebecca Moffett; Chris Milligan; Amanda Byrnes; Eamonn Ward; Graham Ord

Testimonials

‘Very commercially-minded people that deliver their legal advice in a straight forward but personable way.’

‘Worked with Joe Moore as partner on a number of things and find that the advice is sound, and is delivered in a straight forward understandable way. I can be confident that if he says its going to be done, it will be done.’

‘Hands-on approach, thorough review and pushed the matter through to completion. Took the burden off in-house counsel and delivered on time. Joe Moore is a lawyer that every in-house legal team needs to work with to get your work done and on time!’

Key clients

Diageo

Tesco Stores Limited

CA Student Living

Urban Pulse

Apple Inc.

Deloitte

Associated British Foods plc

Corbo Limited

Randox

Kilmona Investments Limited

Wineflair

Firstsource

Bedeck

Bryson Charitable Group

Work highlights

  • Advising McKinney Estates (Manchester) Limited as the developer of a new £60m “Wavegarden” surfing facility next to the Trafford Centre in Manchester.
  • Advising Ulster Council GAA on the £120m redevelopment of the Casement Park Stadium
  • Advised CA Student Living on an equity and development funding deal to unlock the Botanic Link student accommodation project in Belfast.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast's real estate team, which acts for local and multinational clients, is highly active in industries such as energy and retail. Also notable is that practice head Alastair Todd (who acts for clients with property assets across the island of Ireland and in Great Britain) has made a name for himself in the social and affordable housing space. Under Todd's leadership, the practice has continued to build on its well-established reputation in investment transactions, residential and commercial development projects, lettings of commercial and office premises, and asset management work. One notable highlight in 2020 involved Todd leading the advice to Straidorn Properties on its acquisition of the historic Custom House in Belfast. The group also includes consultant Rowan WhiteMark Jameson and associates Chris Williams and Laura McGaffin.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Todd

Other key lawyers:

Rowan White; Mark James; Chris Williams; Laura McGaffin

Testimonials

‘Partners are generally very commercial.’

‘Alastair Todd (real estate partner) has both the commercial and legal experience to overcome complexity in transactions.’

‘Excellent use of technology especially during recent months. Phone calls always answered and emails always replied to very promptly. Billing transparency. High calibre of partners and staff. The excellent reputation beforehand was confirmed quickly after use.’

‘Clear, concise and quick communication. Total ownership of issues end to end. Excellent local and national market knowledge. Excellent use of technology.’

‘Arthur Cox has a reputation of excellence in the field of all types of commercial property-related transactions.’

‘Personal involvement and understanding of the project(s) – willingness to ‘roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty’ as opposed to delegation.’

Key clients

Straidorn Properties

Four Seasons Healthcare Group (FSHC)

Applied Systems Europe Limited

HHT Management Limited

Endeavour Investments

Marathon Asset Management

Neptune

Matagorda2 Ltd

Domus UK

Bank of Ireland

Work highlights

  • Advised Straidorn Properties on the acquisition of Custom House.
  • Advised Four Seasons Healthcare Group (FSHC) on the disposal of a number of trading and redundant premises across Northern Ireland.
  • Advised Applied Systems Europe Limited on the lease of the 2nd and 3rd floors (19,160 sq ft) of Adelaide Exchange, Belfast.

Davidson McDonnell Solicitors

Commercial property is a cornerstone of Davidson McDonnell Solicitors' work, with its team covering the full range of transactions, lettings and commercial agreements. Residential properties are of particular interest, particularly in relation to build to rent schemes and social housing. Ross Davidson, who is Chair of the Northern Ireland Commercial Property Lawyers’ Association, jointly leads the team with David McDonnell. Both partners specialise in commercial property and are qualified in both Northern Ireland and England and Wales.

Practice head(s):

Ross Davidson; David McDonnell

Testimonials

‘The team is very approachable and explains matters in a simple manner. They are thorough and extremely professional whilst providing a friendly service.’

‘David McDonnell is one of the best solicitors we have worked with. He is diligent and provides high quality advice, whilst offering good value for money. He always goes the extra mile.’

Key clients

Wirefox

Travis Perkins Plc

Martin Group

Poundstretcher

Runwood Homes

Lacuna Developments

Watkin Jones Plc

BDO

Dunluce Healthcare

Bunzl Plc

Work highlights

  • Advising Wirefox Group on all aspects of the construction of The Paper Exchange.
  • Representing Lacuna Developments – Watkin Jones plc in negotiations with Titanic Quarter and Belfast Harbour in respect of a build to rent scheme.
  • Representing Clonrose Developments (Ormeau) Limited in negotiations for the sale and development of a site on the Ormeau Road, Belfast to a local housing association.

DWF

DWF undertakes a full spread of real estate work for clients from sectors such as hospitality, telecoms, leisure and manufacturing. It also has a particularly strong reputation in the retail industry, with it acting for local and national retailers on the management of their property portfolios in Northern Ireland. Elsewhere, other drivers of the firm’s real estate work include housing development and land regeneration, insolvency-related property work and landlord and tenant matters. In 2020, department head Julie Galbraith acted for the Herbert Group on the sale of over 150 leasehold assets across Northern Ireland, England and Scotland, including 147 trading KFC sites.  Mark Tinman and Kirsty Mairs are among the other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Julie Galbraith

Other key lawyers:

Mark Tinman; Kirsty Mairs; Tomás McLaughlin; Lauren Kennedy; Kathleen Gillespie; Graeme Corry; Conor Kerr

Testimonials

‘Mark is very commanding when around the table with all stakeholders.’

‘DWF(NI) are an excellent firm. They are client focused and take a personal interest in their clients and their businesses. They seek to offer ever widening sectoral advice to ensure the client feels all their legal needs can be looked after in a consistent and personal manner under one roof.’

‘On an ongoing basis, Mark delivers good solutions in a timely fashion, always focusing on the commercial outcome for his client. Marks experience within the industry and his knowledge of our business results in him being an important part of our team.’

‘The DWF team is multi faceted and delivers quality service and advice in an efficient manner. Importantly, and what sets them apart from their peers is their ability to provide ‘actual advice’. In my experience too many practices, simply sit on the fence, outline the options, and let the client decide.’

Key clients

Herbert Group

Titanic Properties/Quarter Limited

Marks and Spencer

Lidl

BT

EE Limited

Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL)

Killultagh Properties

PWD Developments

Menarys

David Samuels Properties

Mayfair Developments Limited

Debenhams

Work highlights

  • Advised Herbert Group on the sale of its multi-site KFC franchise operation to the Issa Brothers’ EG Group
  • Advised Titanic Properties Limited on the sale of the Amazon logistic hub in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast.
  • Advised Lidl on the acquisition of eight new stores in Northern Ireland, in 2020 including advising on the planning and licensing matters.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland’s strong presence in Belfast, Great Britain and Dublin puts it on a strong footing to deliver a ‘seamless service’ to clients. The retail sector is a particular strength of the practice, as is reflected by the firm's work for clients such as Frasers Group and New Look. Elsewhere, other areas of activity include the energy sector (particularly the renewables space), as well as healthcare, which has encompassed the firm advising on the property aspects of care homes and pharmacies. The department is led by Gareth Planck, who primarily advises investment funds, retailers, developers and financiers. He works with Corrina Cassidy, whose recent work included assisting tech companies with establishing premises in Northern Ireland.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Planck

Other key lawyers:

Corrina Cassidy

Testimonials

‘We operate throughout the UK and Ireland and find that Eversheds are able to provide us with a seamless service whichever jurisdiction we are operating in. They are exceptionally responsive and are able to quickly and succinctly provide advice in all areas of expertise which we require. They are very adaptable to changes in deal structures and always provide commercially viable advice.’

‘We work primarily with Gareth Planck. He is incredibly responsive and generally always exceeds our timing requirements. He provides sensible commercial advice and takes great pains to ensure that we fully understand his advice and reasoning.’

‘The property team at Eversheds Sutherland comprises of a dedicated and knowledgeable team of solicitors, which displays strong acumen when advising on our transactions. The process in which they handle instructions and their communication throughout the process is second to none.’

‘Having worked in the property industry for over 13 years I have not come across a firm like Eversheds Sutherland and can only praise them for their effortless, hard working attitude.’

‘Gareth displays a strong commercial understanding of our business objectives and needs at all times which sets perfectly alongside his legal expertise when advising on our transactions.’

‘With Eversheds Sutherland in Belfast, I like how they work as a team, so no matter who you speak to, they are all up to speed on the instruction at the same time which makes working with them seamless.’

‘The team are very solution focused in their approach to the work. Communication was excellent throughout and the advice we received during the process was measured and exactly what was required. The wide pool of resources to draw from worked very well.’

Key clients

Slate Asset Management LP

Frasers Group plc (Sports Direct, Frasers, Jack Wills)

Wolseley UK

Greencoat plc

The Martin Group

Drumlochart Holiday Parks

McDonalds

Fedex UK

NewLook

Sanville Nursing Group

Work highlights

  • Advised global real estate fund Slate Asset Management on the £35m acquisition of Abbey Retail Park, Belfast.
  • Advising Frasers Group Plc on the acquisition of three former gym and leisure businesses in Northern Ireland from the administrators of DW Sports as part of a £37m UK wide investment.
  • Advising Greencoat Plc on the Northern Irish aspects of a UK-wide acquisition of a portfolio of solar farms from Blackrock Assets

Mills Selig

Mills Selig's real estate practice is highlighted for its involvement in high-profile transactions and its success in winning new clients recently, including names such as Rentokil and Mamas and Papas. Anne Skeggs leads the team, which has a strong track record acting for tenants, landlords and developers in the retail sector. It is also active in areas such as energy, telecoms, natural resources and manufacturing, among others. Skeggs assisted EG Group with its acquisition of KFC franchises across the UK and Ireland. She works with Anna-Marie McAlinden, who is notably strong in acting for Northern Ireland-based clients on property matters in England and Wales. McAlinden's experience includes assisting clients with the management of shopping centre portfolios and the acquisition and sale of hotels.

Practice head(s):

Anne Skeggs

Other key lawyers:

Anna-Marie McAlinden; Caroline Glover

Testimonials

‘Unique amongst solicitors is their commercial nous. Ability to spot a commercial angle, an alternative option, and to explain it patiently in layman’s terms.’

‘Anne Skeggs– a brilliant mind- so commercial, sharp, and at the same time very down to earth.’

‘Extremely thorough approach.’

‘Very approachable.’

Key clients

Herbert Group/Kirk Bryson Limited

Murdock Property Group/Lotus Group

Ducales Capital

Lynwood Homes

Bamford Bus Company

Euro Garages

Hagan Homes

Glenmayne Group

Galliard Homes Limited

Marcol Group Limited

IMC Cinema Group

ITV Group plc

Clanmil Housing Association

Total Produce Limited

Quinn Industrial Holdings (now Mannok Holdings)

Waterways Ireland

A P Wireless Ireland Investments Limited

Quicklet Properties Limited

Earlsfort Capital Partners

Lloyds Development Capital (Holdings) Limited

Rexel Group

Reed Group

Ortus Secured Finance

Mamas and Papas

Rentokil

Work highlights

  • Advised EG Group on its acquisition of the largest KFC franchise in the UK and Ireland
  • Advised LDC on the NI aspects of the sale of its interest in Texthelp Limited to Five Arrows.
  • Advised the seller on the sale of over 30 separate 250kw wind farm projects.

TLT

TLT's significant presence in the Northern Ireland market is complemented by its work for local clients with property interests in England. Led by Judith Allen, the real estate team handles a full range of matters for clients, including acquisitions and disposals, commercial lettings, and commercial and residential development projects. Allen's own wide-ranging experience includes advising on the property aspects of insolvencies and also handling high-profile real estate finance transactions. She works with Kevin Murphy, who specialises in the property aspects of energy and natural resources projects. In addition, his other work includes office, food and beverage and retail lettings, as well as investment transactions. Legal director Patrick O’Hanlon is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Judith Allen

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Murphy; Patrick O’Hanlon

Testimonials

‘Small team which means you can get to the individual dealing with my cases, but overseen by director (who I also have access to).’

Key clients

David Samuel Properties

Alpha Real Capital

SSE Renewables [UK] Ltd.

EP Kilroot Ltd.

Deepbridge Capital

Maple & May

Braidwater

Lotus Group

Deramore Developments

Tim Hortons

CBRE NIIF

Baazarvoice

Andras House

Cornerstone Construction (NI) Limited

Deepbridge Capital LLP

Sainsbury’s

Lookers Plc

Nisbets Plc

TUI

Norvara Investment Limited

Crescendo Real Estate Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Alpha Real Capital on the acquisition of an eleven NIRO accredited single wind turbine portfolio of assets.
  • Advised David Samuel on a number of high-profile and high-value transactions throughout 2020.
  • Advised Braidwater on development site acquisitions and plot sales.

Elliott Duffy Garrett

Elliott Duffy Garrett attracts a strong flow of work from clients such as property developers, private and institutional investors, funders and retailers. Stewart Nash leads the property team, whose experience is brought to bear in the social housing, mining and minerals and agri-food industries, among others. Nash, who is dual-qualified to practise in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, has 25 years of commercial property experience. He works with Leo Brown, whose expertise includes commercial and residential development schemes, insolvency-related property work, site assembly and redevelopment. Brown is particularly sought after by local housing associations for advice on the provision of social and affordable housing. Pierre Boitel-Gill is also a key individual in the group, as is associate Niamh Warnock.

Practice head(s):

Stewart Nash

Other key lawyers:

Leo Brown; Pierre Boitel-Gill; Niamh Warnock

Testimonials

‘I have worked with the property team in EDG for many years. They provide a professional, cost effective service with outstanding industry knowledge and a practical approach.’

‘Niamh Warnock and Leo Brown are both exceptional ambassadors for EDG. Both bring experience, a pragmatic approach and solid knowledge.’

‘I have worked with Elliott Duffy Garrett for many years and have relied on their advice in many cases which I found to be excellent and insightful.

‘I would have no hesitation in recommending this firm and their varied services.’

‘My main contact within Elliott Duffy Garrett is Leo Brown who has always provided clear, unbiased and professional guidance which has been invaluable in a number of difficult cases.’

Key clients

John H Lunn Limited

McGinnis Group

Eglinton Developments Limited

The Baird Group Limited

Jenkins Shipping Company Limited

Ebrington Leisure Holdings Limited

Oasis Group

Work highlights

  • Advising a London fund on the sale of a retail park for approximately £10,000,000.00.
  • Advising a registered housing association on the acquisition of a significant number of housing stock in a deal valued at £20,000,000.00
  • Advising a joint venture company on the acquisition of two pieces of land from two separately owned companies. Dealing with the property and corporate aspects and also settling third party litigation which, if not resolved, would have impacted the profitability of the scheme. Disposal value approximately £15,000,000.00

Keystone Law

Keystone Law has increasingly become prominent in advising developers in high-profile development mandates. In addition, its practitioners are a go-to for advice on investment acquisitions and disposals, leasing agreements and real estate finance transactions. Recent work included acting for Harcourt Developments on its lease renewal of Trident House Belfast to Fujitsu. Commercial director Danny McKay has over 25 years of real estate experience, and acts for a mix of corporate and private individuals. Director Jim Houston is noted for his expertise in handling commercial and residential development projects, and also his experience of negotiating leases for landlords and tenants in relation to retail, industrial, office and hotel premises.

Other key lawyers:

Danny McKay; Jim Houston; Jonny Mullan

Testimonials

‘A small tight team with a great network within the Northern Ireland. A no-nonsense approach to business with a nice personal touch. The team had a real sense of warmth and trust about them. The firm seemed more like a family who clearly respect and look after each other and their clients.’

‘Jim Houston – took time to understand our organisation and how we work. Took time to make sure they were doing what they needed to. A man who clearly wants to give a client great service. A great sounding board and trusted adviser.’

Key clients

Harcourt Developments

Hatch Brothers Limited

GIANTS PARK BELFAST LIMITED

Causeway Asset Management Limited

Allen + Overy LLP

Johncorp (no3) Limited

Straben Limited

Kilmona Property Limited

Hollyblue Healthcare

Work highlights

  • Advised Hollyblue Healthcare in the sale of Hollyblue Healthcare (Ulster) Limited, its Northern Ireland business, comprising 3 care homes to Impact Healthcare.
  • Continues to act for Giant’s Park Belfast Limited pursuant to its recent successful bid to develop the new £93m visitor and leisure attraction at Giants Park Belfast.
  • Avised on the property aspects of Hatch Bros Limited’s acquisition of the business and assets of Pastaking, a well-known family business based in Devon.

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP has a well-established reputation in the retail sector, with its client roster including well-known names such as Hays Travel, Monsoon, Waterstones and Schuh. Elsewhere, the group is highly skilled in assisting oversees investors with the acquisition and refinancing of property portfolios. In addition, landlord and tenant work is another pillar of the practice; in 2020, the department was notably active in handling re-gears, as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Name partner Peter McCall, who leads the team, works with Simon Fleming, as well as associates Michael Wilson and Neil McCreadie. Andrew Kerr left the firm to take up a role as in-house counsel at AllState.

Practice head(s):

Peter McCall

Other key lawyers:

Simon Fleming; Michael Wilson; Neil McCreadie

Testimonials

‘The MMW team compares very favourably to the other solicitors which I have encountered within Northern Ireland.’

‘Millar McCall Wylie are a reputable law firm which our company has used for many years. Their solicitors cover a range of capabilities and they provide good practical legal advice over a broad range of areas. Any time I have dealt with MMW they are reliable, efficient, they offer a personal service and their fees are reasonable.’

‘I have mostly dealt with Simon Fleming from Millar McCall Wylie and he always serves in his clients’ best interests. Simon’s work is always efficient and accurate. He always provides expert guidance and support. Simon always plays a proactive role to get deals pushed through and helps us to negotiate with other parties successfully.’

‘The team at Millar McCall Wylie are exceptional. On multiple deals we have worked on, they have pulled in various associates and partners to add their specialist knowledge to the different aspects of the deals.’

‘My main points of contact in Millar McCall Wylie are Simon Fleming, Peter McCall and Neil McCreadie. The guys are always available to take a call and are always able to provide support no matter what the issue is. I trust these individuals and value their advice.’

‘I have dealt with this firm for a number of years. Peter McCall is an exceptional lawyer and is a very personable and approachable person to whom I can go to for professional advice. His team at MMW are all cut from the same cloth in that they are problem solvers and are very flexible in their approach.’

Key clients

McAleer and Rushe Group of Companies

MJM Group of Companies

Consolidated Property Group

Fairfield Real Estate Finance

LCC Group of Companies

Waterstones

Peacocks/Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group of Companies

NFU Mutual

Monsoon/Accessorize

Schuh

Bon Marche

Eurochange

Card Factory

Jollyes

Cosmo

Hays Travel

Work highlights

  • Advised Dankse Bank on the refinance of the Merchant Square Development in Belfast City Centre.
  • Advised CPG Wallop on the £9.35m acquisition of Kilroot Business Park.
  • Advised Lamington Group on entering into a lease agreement for the grant of a 25 year lease of the 175 room aparthotel.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP is a growing name in the local market, with its work spanning residential development and investment, commercial property asset management and investment, as well as property litigation. Also notable is that the firm is prominent in the retail, renewable energy and social housing sectors. One of the names to note at the firm is Mark Blair, who led the advice to Lotus Residential on a residential property portfolio purchase (comprising of 14 houses) in 2020. Blair co-heads the practice with Sarah Ewing, who acted for Mainline Contracts Limited on the assembly of two sites for social housing development, as well as the subsequent grant of two development agreements with the social housing provider. John Palmer, who has a mix of projects and real estate expertise, is particularly knowledgeable about the Irish energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Mark Blair; Sarah Ewing

Other key lawyers:

John Palmer

Testimonials

‘The team at Shoosmiths (Northern Ireland) LLP consistently provides excellent service. Strength and depth across a wide range of legal topics, allowing quick responses whatever the issue.’

‘Sarah Ewing has the ability to think through issues logically and provide advice that is practical and effective. Sarah is familiar with the legal processes and can proceed quickly and efficiently to a resolution. Advice is clear and sensible and with strong commercial focus, allowing us to deal with issues early.’

‘Very strong, experienced team.’

‘Mark Blair is extremely commercially focussed and very proactive.’

Key clients

Tristan Capital

Lotus Group

Porter Homes

Sea Eagle Properties

ABO Wind

Cape Renewables

Newbridge Energy Holdings

JMC Restaurants

Alterity Developments

B Crowe & Sons

The McGinnis Group

The Works Stores

H & M Hennes & Mauritz UK

Ann Summers

Choice Housing Ireland

Mainline Contracts

Norlin EV Limited

Kilmona Properties

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

Work highlights

  • Advised Choice Housing Association on a very large-scale title review certificate of title exercise across 80 residential housing schemes
  • Advised ABO Wind on the sale of a 23MW wind farm in Co. Antrim.
  • Provides ongoing advice to Tristan Capital and Lotus Group.

Wilson Nesbitt

Wilson Nesbitt advises housing associations, property developers and private clients on new developments and regeneration schemes. Senior partner Gilbert Nesbitt has 40 years of experience advising on social housing and residential development schemes. Drew Nesbitt, who is dual-qualified in Northern Ireland and England and Wales, handles regeneration work.

Practice head(s):

Drew Nesbitt

Other key lawyers:

Gilbert Nesbitt

Testimonials

‘The incredibly personal service and attention to detail backed by their highly efficient use of technology is what sets the firm apart.’

‘Wilson Nesbitt has dedicated professionals, and yet they are personable. They are able to respond to queries personally within the same day.’

Key clients

Radius Housing Association

Castlebawn Newtownards Limited

Hillview Centre Belfast Limited

Northland Developments Limited

Kestrel Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Radius Housing on the private placement of £105m secured against 3,300 properties which involved the certification of 34 development sites.
  • Advised Castlebawn Newtownards Limited on the disposal of a development site to Lidl Northern Ireland Limited for £1.35m, having previously acted on the acquisition of the 79 acre scheme.
  • Advising on the acquisition of multiple parcels of land to facilitate the construction of 119 general needs affordable homes together with a new club house and 3G Gaelic football pitch.

Worthingtons

Worthingtons undertakes a significant amount of work for clients in the retail sector, for whom it advises on landlord and tenant issues and portfolio management, among other matters; clients in this space include names such as Dixons Carphone and Hotel Chocolat. Elsewhere, the firm's recent work has also spanned industries such as hospitality and leisure, as well as charities. The impact of Covid-19 has meant that the department has been kept busy with advice on matters such as rent deferments and restructuring, keep-open covenants and relief from forfeiture. Graham Pierce  is the head of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Graham Pierce

Testimonials

‘The team at Worthingtons are and always have been an extremely engaged group of people. Helpful and friendly at all times but above all else – keen to know you and your business – they always want to be part of what you are trying to achieve.’

‘All partners that have worked with in the firm have come from the same ethical standpoint and proven time and again how involved in you they want to be.’

‘I enjoy the direct partner level engagement, which provides access to a wealth of experience and knowledge.’

‘Graham Pierce – I have worked with Graham for a number of years and always appreciate his thorough approach and attention to detail.’

‘Partner Graham Pierce has an excellent understanding of the retail lease environment in Northern Ireland. He is open to discussions on how to drive cost efficiencies.’

‘Partner Graham Pierce has an excellent understanding of the retail lease environment in Northern Ireland.’

Key clients

Golf Holdings Group

Dixons Carphone plc (including Currys PC World)

Telefonica (O2)

Whistl UK (formerly TNT Post)

SABA Investments

Derevoya Holdings Limited

AIB Group (UK) plc

Quiz plc

Extern Northern Ireland

Premiere Employment Group Ltd

Hotel Chocolat

Boux Avenue (Theo Paphitis Retail Group)

Creative Gardens (NI) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Dixons Carphone on all aspects of its NI store portfolio including the winding down of The Carphone Warehouse stand-alone store estate.
  • Acting for Golf Holdings Group companies on all their estate management requirements, particularly on landlord/tenant matters.
  • Acting for Telefonica in relation to its Northern Ireland store portfolio and dealing with issues presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.