Commercial property in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody is well placed to advise on major developments, leasings and redevelopment projects; the team's workload involves the purchases of major retail parks, office lettings for global corporations and the regeneration of historic areas, often through mixed-use developments. Practice head Tracey Schofield has broad expertise but is particularly known for the investment enhancement and redevelopment of major properties. Associate Gregory Martin, who is praised for his 'commercial approach to his dealings with lettings,' is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tracey Schofield

Other key lawyers:

Gregory Martin

Testimonials

‘Good cooperation between commercial and corporate departments.’

‘The team’s experience is undoubtedly beneficial when advising clients.’

‘Gregory Martin is approachable, has an excellent breadth of knowledge and takes a commercial approach to his dealings with lettings.’

Key clients

NewRiver REIT Plc

Genova Properties Limited

Oakland Group

McAleer and Rushe

Valeo Group

Tristan Capital

Energia

Foodco NI Limited

Brookfield

Prestige

Bombardier

McCloskey

Work highlights

  • Acted on the acquisition of Sprucefield Retail Park for £40m.
  • Acted on the sale of Crescent Link Shopping Centre for £30m.
  • Acted on the letting of Merchant Square to PwC.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell advises on some of the biggest property transactions in the market, with a client base that includes major foreign investors such as Threadneedle and Investec, as well as local names such as Belfast International Airport. Dawson McConkey leads the team and has a special interest in the property aspects of major energy deals. Emma Cooper is another key member and similarly has a strong focus on the energy sector. Former practice head Rosemary Carson continues to work with the team as a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Dawson McConkey

Other key lawyers:

Emma Cooper; Rosemary Carson

Key clients

The Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Belfast International Airport

Ulster University

McAleer & Rushe

Threadneedle Pensions/Property Investments

Northstone

Rapid7 International

PwC

Investec Bank

Renewable Energy Systems

Work highlights

  • Advised PwC on the relocation of its Belfast headquarters.
  • Advised Threadneedle Pensions on the sale of James House, Belfast for £16m.
  • Advised Rapid7 International on its letting of over 45,000 square feet of Grade A office at Chichester House, Belfast.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

'An excellent firm with an impeccable tradition', Cleaver Fulton Rankin has 'one of the longest-established dedicated commercial real estate teams in Belfast'. The team's standout strength is in the retail sector, where it acts for retailers and owners of retail outlets on major transactions and agreements. Joe Marley leads the team and works alongside Kathryn Collie and Alan McAlister.

Practice head(s):

Joe Marley

Other key lawyers:

Kathryn Collie; Alan McAlister

Testimonials

‘We have used Cleaver Fulton Rankin for many years. They are an excellent firm with an impeccable tradition. Their team is one of the longest-established dedicated commercial real estate teams in Belfast and in our view, the best in Northern Ireland. ‘

‘We couldn’t recommend them highly enough. Their team boasts a number of exceptional real estate lawyers. Their standards are outstanding. They take the time to understand our business. Their attention to detail is excellent. We are always very encouraged to have them on our side which gives us great peace of mind.’

‘Joe Marley has an excellent legal knowledge and always acts in our best interests. He is a very hard worker and always makes himself available. He has led on a number of very significant property transactions in the past couple of years. He is a strong negotiator, but respectful of his peers.’

‘Alan McAlister has many years’ experience acting in real estate transactions. He has wide-ranging legal knowledge, both in real estate transactional work and real estate litigation. He is a smart guy and he is very easy to deal with.’

‘The team are accessible and offer considered advice which assists us to make commercial decisions, rather than seeking to push all decision making assessment back to us .’

‘Joe Marley has a good local knowledge of the areas we cover and is able to offer advice accordingly tailored to our sector.’

‘Professional service delivered in an relaxed but businesslike manner.’

‘Kathryn Collie undertakes our transaction work in Northern Ireland. Kathryn is responsive and commercial and gets the job done in a timely manner.’

Key clients

T. J. Morris Limited

Hammerson plc

Vodafone Limited

InfraStrata plc

Northern Ireland Science Park Property Limited

Invest Northern Ireland

INTU Properties

Primark Stores Limited

Dalradian Gold Limited

BT plc

Work highlights

  • Advised INTU Properties on its sale of a large retail park in Lisburn.
  • Advised Harland & Wolff on the real estate aspects in their acquisition of a world renowned heavy industries company in Belfast.
  • Advised Dalradian Gold Limited on a mineral extraction project.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is a prominent name for retail and residential developments, with international clients able to benefit from the wider firm's resources across the UK and Ireland. Andrea McIlroy-Rose leads the team and is not only known within the local market for her work in retail, but leads the firm's retail property team for the whole of the UK. Joanna Robinson is another key name, advising on build to rent schemes and property portfolio management. Associate Donna Matchett is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Andrea McIlroy-Rose

Other key lawyers:

Joanna Robinson; Ciaran McNamara

Testimonials

‘They know their fields very well and provide excellent service.’

Key clients

Barclays Bank

Topaz Finance Limited

Apex

MedicX

Queen’s University Belfast

Commerz Real

Kennedy Wilson

Habagou

Kilroot

Work highlights

  • Advised Barclays Bank on the first private placement of funding of a social housing portfolio by US investors in the NI market.
  • Advised Topaz Finance on the sale of a large mortgage portfolio in NI and Scotland .
  • Acted for Queen’s University in relation to the current redevelopment of the Student Union and their recent student accommodation facilities.

Tughans

Tughans has an established reputation for its work for institutional investors, with areas of recent growth including student accommodation and build to rent schemes. Practice head David Jones is dual qualified in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and splits his time between the two jurisdictions, advising an impressive client roster on complex development matters. He is supported by the 'very able' and 'high quality lawyer' Joe Moore, an expert in property and acquisition disposals. Other key names include Rebecca Moffett, who has been very active in advising Translink on its real estate issues. Commercial property transactions expert Phyllis Agnew continues to work as a consultant, as does development and leasing expert John Mills.

Practice head(s):

David Jones

Testimonials

‘Tughans has extensive areas of expertise and a very able team across many legal disciplines.There is a combined dynamic which is special and difficult to find in other practices in Belfast.’

‘Joe Moore is a very able and high quality lawyer. Furthermore, his natural ability and efficiency enables him to provide quality responses rapidly. Exactly what we require in property and land acquisitions and disposals.’

Key clients

Tesco Stores Limited

Deloitte LLP

Apple Inc

Grant Thornton

Associated British Foods

EE

Translink

Randox

Brookfield Property Partners

BAE Systems Pension Fund Trustees Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the buyer of 100% of the entire share capital of Funeral Services NI Limited.
  • Acted on the NI property aspects of Domino’s property portfolio.
  • Acted for Carngore in the sale of land at Larne Road Link, Ballymena to LCC Properties and Investments Ltd.

Arthur Cox Belfast

The team at Arthur Cox Belfast has been handling work for a raft of new clients of late, and has been boosted by the promotion of new partner Mark Jameson , who is particularly skilled in retail, development and investment matters. Alastair Todd continues to lead the team, and has advised on property matters across the whole island of Ireland, as well as Great Britain. Rowan White now works as a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Todd

Other key lawyers:

Mark Jameson

Testimonials

‘The partners and staff are very commercial in their approach – and aim to get transactions complete on time.’

‘Alastair Todd has the ability to understand the commercial aspect of a transaction as well as the legal aspects. This allows his team to represent our clients in a productive and efficient way.’

‘I found the team at Arthur Cox to be very professional and personable and felt totally as ease in their presence. They had the ability to uncomplicate the complicated nature of specific legal issues and gave great comfort that all relevant issues would be properly dealt with.’

‘I felt that they were always working to get the best outcomes to serve my specific interests /positioning.’

‘Alastair Todd is very capable, intelligent and professional and delivered on commitments within agreed timelines.’

Key clients

Citibank, N.A.

WindNI Limited

Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company

HHT Management Limited

Maple and May

Craiggore Wind Farm Limited

KPMG

Matagorda2 Ltd

Domus UK

Bank of Ireland

Work highlights

  • Acted for Citibank in relation to the acquisition of the 133,000 sq ft Gateway building in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.
  • Instructed on the disposal by WindNI Limited of a portfolio of 30 distributed single-wind-turbine projects across Northern Ireland to Resonance Asset Management.
  • Advising Domus UK on its property investment portfolio.

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland has a growing reputation in the Belfast market, handling recent mandates for household names such as McDonald's and Sports Direct. Leading the team is Gareth Planck, who is active in the retail sector, most notably in leasehold acquisitions and industrial lettings. Associate Corrina Cassidy, who regularly supports Planck on these mandates, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Planck

Other key lawyers:

Corrina Cassidy

Testimonials

‘Eversheds offer a very professional friendly calm and approachable service to us as clients. Gareth Plank in particular replies to our queries in an expedient and comprehensive manner.’

Gareth Plank is top of his game when it comes to Commercial property and landlord and tenant advice in relation to acquisitions we have made within the healthcare sector.

Gareth’s legal mind entwined with his commercial approach and knowledge of the regulations surrounding the healthcare sector are exceptional.

Gareth provides us with clear direct bullet proof.

Key clients

McDonalds

Frasers/Sports Direct

OFT Developments Limited

Keystone Group

Aviva Investors

Pensions Infrastructure Platforms Fund

NewLook

AIB UK plc

Cisco International Limited

DFS Trading Limited

Shoe Zone Plc

Sanville Nursing Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Sports Direct on the acquisition of a new anchor store at Belfast’s pre-eminent shopping centre following the collapse of House of Fraser.
  • Advised Pension Infrastructure Platform  on a £50m cross-border UK and Ireland (north and south) transaction for a Pension Fund client entering renewable energy for the first time.
  • Advising Aviva Investors on the asset management of their substantial retail park portfolio on the edge of Belfast City Centre.

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP regularly works with major builders and investors in Northern Ireland, as well as real estate investment firms from as far afield as New York and London, providing expertise in the acquisition, disposal and financing of local properties. Name partner Peter McCall leads the team and has a track record of work on retail developments, as well as an active practice in the residential space. He is supported by Simon Fleming, who also has a strong focus on the retail sector, and Andrew Kerr who is very strong in landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):

Peter McCall

Other key lawyers:

Simon Fleming; Andrew Kerr

Testimonials

‘The team are commercially focused and are not scared to give meaningful advice in the context of the matter in questions. They are also proactive and responsive. ‘

‘Peter McCall is very commercial and brings a wealth of experience to every deal. ‘

‘Simon Fleming is very measured, calm and diligent, and this comes across in any matter he assists with.’

‘Neil McCreadie is thorough and attentive.’

‘The firm has a talented set of lawyers who provide excellent advice right across the legal spectrum. We deal with them primarily on construction/finance/property development matters and they are always very knowledgeable and well resourced when undertaking work for us. ‘

‘They are a very approachable team who make themselves available at short notice when required. They take a commercial approach to problems and we feel we can rely 100% on them at all times.’

‘Peter McCall is an exceptionally knowledgeable lawyer who always gives crystal clear and concise advise when dealing with all matters. We find him to be excellent to work with and we have no hesitation in identifying Peter as a standout professional lawyer.’

‘Neil McCreadie is an exceptionally talented and hardworking lawyer. Neil always has his eye on the detail of the deal.’

Key clients

McAleer and Rushe Group of Companies

Fairfield Real Estate Finance

DRC Capital

Peacocks/Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group of Companies

NFU Mutual

Monsoon/Accessorize

MJM Group of Companies

Eurochange

Card Factory

Hays Travel

Tata Steel

CBRE Global Investors

Scottish Power

Warren James Jewellers

Bangor Marine Limited

Moffett Group of Companies

LCC Group of Companies

Eddie Irvine

Schuh

Work highlights

  • Advised Hays on the NI aspects of the acquisition of 555 Thomas Cook Stores in the UK.
  • Acted for Fairfield in the refinance of four investment properties in Belfast by the Oakland Group of Companies.
  • Acted for Bangor Marine as the preferred bidder for the £45m development of a large site adjoining the marina in Bangor.

Mills Selig

The 'very experienced but down to earth' team at Mills Selig advises on housing, retail and hospitality property, with property developers, investors and restaurant groups among its client base. Dual-qualified Anne Skeggs leads the practice and has a track record of work on high value transactions, most involving distressed properties. Anna-Marie McAlinden, who is particularly strong in the energy space, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Anne Skeggs

Other key lawyers:

Anna-Marie McAlinden

Testimonials

‘With Mills Selig we have worked with the same people for quite a number of years and have an excellent working relationship with them. The team we work with are all very experienced but down to earth at the same time, and are great people to work with. ‘

‘When they have a deadline to work to they do not let you down. One of the main benefits we find with using Mils Selig is that we work with the same people on all of our residential sites.’

‘Anne Skeggs is very experienced and makes herself readily available as and when required. ‘

‘Associate Caroline Glover is very experienced in land purchase and her attention to detail is second to none especially on tricky deals.’

Key clients

Herbert Group/Kirk Bryson Limited

Murdock Property Group/Lotus Group

Ducales Capital

Galliard Homes Limited

Marcol Group Limited

IMC Cinema Group

ITV Group plc

Clanmil Housing Association

Total Produce Limited

Quinn Industrial Holdings

Waterways Ireland

A P Wireless Ireland Investments Limited

Quicklet Properties Limited

Earlsfort Capital Partners

Lloyds Development Capital (Holdings) Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bamford Parts on the acquisition of land and buildings at the old JTI Site, Lisnafillon, Ballymena essential to the acquisition of Wrightbus.
  • Advised the selling shareholders of the Novosco Group Limited group of companies in their sale of the entire issued share capital to Cancom Ltd.
  • Acting for Wayne Sullivan and Neil McKibbin, who set up a new partnership McKibbin Sullivan to purchase Victoria House, Belfast.

Davidson McDonnell Solicitors

Davidson McDonnell Solicitors has lawyers qualified in both Northern Ireland and England and Wales with a history of advising for investors, developers and retail companies. The team has expertise in acquisitions, financing and lease arrangements. Ross Davidson and David McDonnell are the two names of note.

Practice head(s):

Ross Davidson; David McDonnell 

DWF

DWF's team operates under the leadership of Julie Galbraith, who is known for advising retailers and commercial occupiers on property issues. Another key name is Mark Tinman, who is offers experience in the acquisition and disposal of commercial and residential real estate.

Practice head(s):

Julie Galbraith

Other key lawyers:

Mark Tinman

Elliott Duffy Garrett

Elliott Duffy Garrett is reputed for its work in social housing, as well as landlord and tenant issues. Practice head Stewart Nash acts for a range of institutional investors, particularly in relation to residential developments. For lease agreements, Pierre Boitel-Gill is 'a drafter of agreements of the highest order,' with 'a tremendous eye for detail.' Leo Brown adds another dimension to the practice with his expertise in litigation and handling distressed assets.

Practice head(s):

Stewart Nash

Other key lawyers:

Pierre Boitel-Gill; Leo Brown

Testimonials

‘The team is very understanding of our requirements, quick to respond to requests for help and sensitive to specific issues.’

‘Leo Brown is is quick to reply to questions, makes himself available for discussions or meetings readily and has a deep knowledge of the matters we need legal advice on.’

‘Pierre Boitel-Gill has been involved in key lease negotiations for us and is a drafter of agreements of the highest order, with a tremendous eye for detail and procedures to follow.’

‘We find the practice both efficient and timely and that they handle our property interests in a very responsive manner.’

‘Stewart Nash and Pierre Boitel-Gill are extremely efficient and easy to get in touch with.’

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

  • Advised John H Lunn Limited on ongoing lease matters concerning the Queen’s Arcade in Belfast City Centre.
  • Advised Eglinton Developments Limited on site purchases, site assemblies and residential sales.
  • Advised The Baird Group concerning the sale of a substantial property to a local property developer.

Keystone Law

Keystone Law's real estate lawyers have advised on a range of major commercial property developments, covering the office, leisure and residential sectors. Jim Houston is a key name and is an expert in transactions, lease agreements, as well as rent reviews and renewals.  Also recommended is Danny McKay who is particularly strong in conveyancing and licensing issues.

Key clients

Hatch Brothers Limited N

Giants Park Belfast Limited

Causeway Asset Management Limited

Allen+Overy LLP

Johncorp (no3) Limited

Straben Limited No

Kilmona Property Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Kilmona in completing Agreement for the letting of a 50,000 sq ft office space at Chichester House Belfast to the major US Cyber Security firm, Rapid7.
  • Continuing to act for Giants Park Belfast Limited pursuant to its recent successful bid to develop the new £93m visitor and leisure park on the north foreshore of Belfast lough.
  • Acting for Hatch Brothers Ltd on the property aspects of its acquisition of Devon business Pastaking.

Shoosmiths LLP

The team at Shoosmiths LLP is led by Mark Blair , who recently joined from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, before which he spent eight years in the commercial property team at A&L Goodbody. Blair regularly represents institutional investors on local property investments, mainly involving commercial and residential developments. He is also currently active in property matters for major retail clients such as H&M, Kwik Fit and Game Retail.

Practice head(s):

Mark Blair 

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Ewing; John Palmer

Testimonials

A very commercial and proactive property team.

Key clients

Abo Wind

Cape Renewables

Alterity Developments

Sea Eagle Propertie

B Crowe & Sons

Game Retail

H&M Hennes & Mauritz

Kwik Fit

Hobbs Limited

Peacocks Stores

Work highlights

  • Advised Sea Eagle Properties on the ongoing management of Meadowlane Shopping Centre, Magherafelt.
  • Advised Tristan Capital and Lotus Property on the ongoing management of The Boulevard (outlet shopping centre) in Banbridge.
  • Advised Tristan Capital and Lotus Property on the ongoing management of The Junction (retail and leisure park) in Antrim.

TLT

Bringing 'a London attitude to Belfast work', TLT  is currently very active in advising on residential developments, with other work covering commercial, office and retail real estate. Practice head Judith Allen has expertise in both contentious and non-contentious matters, and is 'knowledgeable, detailed and not afraid of a fight when it is necessary'. Transactions expert Kevin Murphy is another key name - he focuses primarily on the energy and natural resources sector.

Practice head(s):

Judith Allen

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Murphy

Testimonials

‘A London attitude to Belfast work.’

‘Judith Allen is exceptional, she goes above and beyond what is needed. She is knowledgeable, detailed and not afraid of a fight when it is necessary. The team is well respected in the local market and is very proactive within their various sectors.’

‘They have run a number of seminars and webinars which have been very useful with great detail around various issues in the sector.’

‘Judith Allen, Kevin Murphy and the rest of the team show great awareness around the commercial issues and I have found them very responsive to queries with deals always delivered on time.’

Key clients

Andras House Group

Braidwater Limited

Lotus Group/Murlock Group

Jenkins Shipping

SSE Renewables

Greenville Energy

Moorefield Hospitality Limited

Deramore Developments Limited

Lookers/Charles Hurst Group

Low Carbon Developments

UBRN Limited (Anthropologie)

Card Zone

BDV Atlantic

Tim Hortons

Chopstix

Bazaarvoice

MyPizza Slice

Crescendo

Old Castle Developments

Work highlights

  • Acted for BW Homes in relation to one of the largest acquisitions of an area of 100 acres of mixed use development lands.
  • Acted for Lotus in the development and letting to KFC of the Gateway Site at Banbridge.
  • Advised Woolsey Group on the acquisition of a large investment property.

Worthingtons

Advising household names such as Dixons Carphone, Currys PC World and O2, Worthingtons works for retail clients on transactions, lease agreements and tenancy matters. Graham Pierce leads the practice and is an expert in the retail and telecoms sectors, assisting with the full spectrum of commercial property matters.

Practice head(s):

Graham Pierce

Key clients

Golf Holdings Group

Dixons Carphone plc (including Currys PC World)

Telefonica (O2)

The Works Stores

First Trust Bank

Quiz plc

Extern Ireland

M & Co (Mackays Stores)

Premiere People (part of Cordant Group plc)

Hotel Chocolat

Lush

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Boux Avenue (Ryman Group)

Work highlights

  • Acting for Dixons Carphone plc in relation to all its Northern Ireland real estate law requirements including management of its exclusive retail store estate.
  • Acting for Golf Holdings Group on the management of its extensive retail and leisure estate.
  • Acting for Extern Ireland in provision of supported accommodation, including a large new property acquisitions programme.