Real estate: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill LLP is the pre-eminent real estate practice for property funds, major lenders, and corporations, and is noted for its ability to handle complex and high-profile acquisitions and in the REIT sector, such as the S$1.54bn proposed merger of Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust and Frasers Commercial Trust. Ho Kin San heads the corporate real estate practice and is supported by Eudora Tan and Hoo Sheau Farn, who are experienced in REIT's, build-to-suit transactions, and commercial leasing. Penny Goh became a senior advisor in early 2020.

Practice head(s):

Ho Kin San

Other key lawyers:

Eudora Tan; Hoo Sheau Farn; Penny Goh

Work highlights

  • Advised Allianz Real Estate GmbH, the majority partner with a 60 per cent interest on its joint acquisition with Gaw Capital Partners, of DUO Tower and DUO Galleria for S$1.58 billion.
  • Advised Mapletree Commercial Trust, a real estate investment trust listed in Singapore, on structuring its acquisition of Mapletree Business City (Phase 2), for S$1.55 billion, which consolidated MCT’s title and entire interest in Mapletree Business City development.
  • Advised CapitaLand, Asia’s largest diversified real estate group, and CDL, one of Singapore’s largest listed property developers, which acquired the Liang Court site, a coveted prime precinct with dual frontage facing the Singapore River and Fort Canning Hill.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

The full-service real estate team at Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP is 'knowledgeable about their work and go the extra mile' in acquisition and disposition of commercial and residential properties, as well as handling innovative share sale arrangement and REIT mergers. Norman Ho spearheads the practice and routinely advises property developers, investment fund trustees, and financial institutions on all real estate aspects. For conveyancing, Elsa Chai is the go-to contact and for collective purchases and development work, Gazalle Mok is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Norman Ho; Elsa Chai

Other key lawyers:

Elsa Chai; Gazalle Mok

Testimonials

‘Extremely efficient, and competent.’

‘The entire team from partners to associates is very responsive and efficient. They are knowledgeable about their work and go the extra mile each time if required. Make clients feel they are in good hands, and good trust.’

Key clients

GCREF Acquisitions XVIII Limited

Golden Compass (BVI) Ltd.

Carmel Development Pte. Ltd.

OUE Hospitality REIT Management Pte. Ltd. OUE Hospitality Trust Management Pte. Ltd.

AirTrunk Singapore Holding Pte. Ltd.

Glopeak Development Pte. Ltd.

SRIF Pte. Ltd.

First Meyer Development Pte Ltd

Landmark JV Pte. Ltd.

Arch Capital Management

Work highlights

  • Acted for Gaw Capital Partners in the S$1.575 billion acquisition by a consortium, comprising Gaw Capital Partners and Allianz Real Estate, of the entire issued and paid-up share capital of Ophir-Rochor Commercial Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of M+S Pte Ltd, which owns the property situated at 3 and 7 Fraser Street and known as “Duo DUO Tower” and “Duo DUO Galleria” respectively.
  • Acting for Golden Compass (BVI) Ltd. in the S$1.025 billion acquisition of the entire issued and paid-up share capital of Oxley Beryl Pte. Ltd., the registered proprietor of the property situated at 30 Raffles Place, Singapore and known as “Chevron House.”
  • Acted for Carmel Development Pte. Ltd., in the S$980 million acquisition of all the strata lots and common property comprised in the 290-unit freehold residential development known as Pacific Mansions in River Valley, Singapore.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLPs' lawyers are 'extremely experienced and always forthcoming with advice on navigating transactions and potential pitfalls' and are well placed to advise commercial, residential and mixed-development issues owing to the group's extensive experience in the real estate market in Singapore and across Asia. It is noted for acting in highly structured acquisitions and financing arrangements, divestments, joint ventures, commercial leasing, and substantial development projects. Dorothy Marie Ng is the main figurehead; Monica Yip, Teck Howe Tan, Serene Soh, and Angela Lim are also highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Dorothy Marie NG

Testimonials

‘I deal mainly with Angela Lim, who is a partner at the property practice. She is very customer-focused and is proactive in coming up with innovative solutions to assist the client.’

‘Extremely experienced and always forthcoming with advice on navigating transactions and potential pitfalls. Shows genuine interest in the success of their clients’ transactions.’

‘Dorothy Ng is extremely approachable, and has notable expertise and experience in the field.’

‘Trust-worthy, Unique expertise and in-depth knowledge, bench strength, highly response’

‘Dorothy Ng is an established practitioner which I consider to be a guru in the local property scene. Her unparalleled knowledge is matched by practical and at times, out-of-the-box solutions that are always beneficial to her clients. Her partners such as Bonnie and Monica are also extremely professional and can always be counted on to provide their undivided attention and well thought out solutions and opinions.’

‘The team was experienced in the relevant field of law and was able to guide me and my colleagues at all stages of the transaction. In addition, the team was readily contactable and responsive, which is a crucial factor in a time-sensitive transaction.’

Key clients

ESR-REIT

UOL Group Limited

M + S Group

CapitaLand Group/CapitaLand Commercial Trust/CapitaLand Malls Asia Trust/Ascendas REIT

Mapletree Group/Mapletree Industrial Trust

AIMS AMP – Capital Industrial REIT

Resorts World Sentosa

Shimizu Group

Arkema Pte Ltd

Changi Airport Group (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

NTUC Income Insurance Co-Operative

ARCH Capital Management Company Limited

Manulife Financial Corp

Parkway Trust Management Limited/ Parkway Pantai Group

ARA Asset Management Limited

United Overseas Bank Limited

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited

Perennial Group

Grab

Central Provident Fund Board

Lendlease

Work highlights

  • Acted for The Place Holdings Limited (“The Place Holdings”) in the acquisition of Realty Centre an office building in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore for S$148 million.
  • Advising M+S (a joint venture between Temasek and Khazanah) in the divestment of the office and retail areas of the iconic Duo complex, comprising Duo Tower and Duo Galleria, to Allianz Real Estate and Gaw Capital Partners for approximately S$1.6 billion by way of the sale of 100% shares in the holding entity.
  • Acted for an associated company of CapitaLand Limited in the acquisition of certain units in the building known as PLUS at 20 Cecil Street (formerly known as GSH Plaza) by acquiring the entire interest in Five Seasons XXII Limited from Fullshare Value Fund I(A) – a fund led by Fullshare Holdings Limited – a company listed in the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited for more than S$500 million.

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Holding domestic and cross-border capability, Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow is well placed to advise on inbound and outbound investment, real estate finance, and corporate work across the Asia Pacific region. Real estate acquisitions, landlord and tenant matters, lease restructurings, and portfolio rationalisation are key areas of strength for the Geraldine Ong-led team who have a 'good understanding of commercial and other non-legal aspects of the real estate industry'. Ong is particularly sought after by property developers, REITs, global multinationals, and individuals on all aspects of real estate law. Sharon Tan is 'a robust negotiator' and often acts for borrowers on facilities such as mortgages, refinancing, and land/construction facilities for development projects.

Practice head(s):

Geraldine Ong

Other key lawyers:

Sharon Tan

Testimonials

‘Good understanding of commercial and other non-legal aspects of the real estate industry. This translates to clearer views of the commercial leases and other related contracts arising out of real estate deals, and allows the team to put forward a stronger position in negotiations on behalf of the client.’

‘Sharon Tan is quick to spot issues and a robust negotiator, whilst providing sound legal and commercial advice to clients.’

Key clients

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA)

Work highlights

  • Advised an Australian infrastructure fund in its acquisition of majority 88% stake in hyperscale data centre platform AirTrunk, in which the Singapore facility was a major target.

Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore

Best known for its Asia Pacific hospitality and leisure specialisation, Clyde & Co Clasis Singapore is highly recommended for real estate and related commercial transactions involving hotels, branded residences,mixed-use developments, and retail leasing. Ik Wei Chong and Hailing Liu are the key figures. Benjamin Hirasawa left the practice.

Practice head(s):

Ik Wei Chong

Other key lawyers:

Hailing Liu

Work highlights

  • Advising a global hotel chain on real estate aspects of their Asia Pacific hotel projects which involve many hotels under various brands in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Guam, Palau, Saipan and South Korea.
  • Advising a hospitality chain on corporate, real estate, employment and dispute resolution aspects of their Asia Pacific hotel projects.
  • Advising a hotel on the corporate and real estate aspects of their hotel and branded residence projects in Singapore.

Dentons Rodyk

Dentons Rodyk & Davidson LLP represents a myriad of developers and investors on a range of real estate transactions, with big-ticket sales in the retail, residential, and commercial sectors being a core area of work. It is also adept at handling collective sales, REITs, and financing. Liat Yeang Lee specialises in en-bloc acquisitions, while Maureen Ann is skilled in leasing transactions. Property development expert Melanie Lim also routinely advises on landlord and tenant matters.

Practice head(s):

Melanie LIM, Senior Partner

Other key lawyers:

Liat Yeang Lee; Maureen Ann

Testimonials

‘Knowledge of local legislation in the real estate domain. Specialised know-how on engaging and meeting the requirements of the government agencies.’

‘Maureen has previously worked on various JTC related industrial projects and comes highly recommended from other real estate players. ‘

Key clients

Oxley Holdings Limited

Areca Investment Pte Ltd subsidiary of CapitaLand

ARA Asset Management and Chelsfield (joint venture)

Wing Tai Holdings Limited

Wujie Times Square Pte. Ltd.

PGIM Real Estate Asia Retail Fund

M&G Real Estate Asia Pte Ltd

CNQC Realty (Treasure) Investment Pte Ltd

Riverhub Pte Ltd

CES-Precast Pte. Ltd.

Oxley Beryl Pte. Ltd.

CEL Newton Pte Ltd

Park Mall Pte. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acting for listed real estate company Oxley Holdings Limited, Singapore in their sale of Chevron House for S$1.025 billion.
  • Acting for the developer, Areca Investment Pte Ltd subsidiary of CapitaLand in the sale of the units in this iconic landmark Pearl Park Apartments residential development near Ourtram Park MRT station.
  • Acted for LOGOS, in its investment and partnership with Singapore-listed CSC Holdings Limited to re- develop a site at Tanjong Penjuru Crescent into a six-storey warehouse.

Drew & Napier LLC

At Drew & Napier LLC, co-heads Sok Hiang Lau and Soo Lih Ho advise listed and private companies, financial institutions, developers, and individuals in real estate transactions such as joint ventures, share sale, and purchases, REIT's, collective sales, and leases. He also routinely advises on hotel management, property investment, and management contracts. Wai Cheong Yeong is recommended for real estate financing.

Practice head(s):

Wai Cheong Yeong Director, Real Estate; Soo Lih Ho Director, Real Estate; Sok Hiang Lau Director, Real Estate; April Mak Director, Real Estate

Testimonials

‘Efficient and strong in their knowledge of conveyancing and real estate legal contracts. Get things done fast.’

Lau Sok Hiang – Depth of knowledge, customer engagement, and timely updates. Able to explain things clearly.’

Key clients

CA Indosuez (Switzerland) SA, Singapore Branch

Citibank

CPF Board

DBS

dormakaba Production GmbH & Co. KG.

Far East Organisation (Note to researcher: We are acting for the Far East Organization in the sale of units in existing development (residential, commercial and mixed) projects and were recently instructed to act in the sale of units in a new housing development project.)

GuocoLand Limited

KOP Group Limited

Lucrum Capital Group

Markham Agro (19 HK) Pte. Ltd.

OCBC

Reignwood Group

Riway (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

Soilbuild Business Space REIT

Soilbuild Construction Group of Companies

UOB

UOL Group Limited

VP Bank Ltd

UBS Singapore

Work highlights

  • Acted as developer’s solicitors in advising the sale documents due to changes to the Housing Developer Rules and the implementation of the new Housing Developers (Show Unit) Rules in 2015. Sims Urban Oasis is the first prime residential development in the area of Sims Drive.
  • Acted for Riway (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. in its acquisition of a commercial property at 101 Bedok North Avenue 3, Singapore 469715 by way of a purchase of 100% of the shares in the company holding the Property.
  • Acts for Far East Organisation, one of Asia’s largest real estate groups and the largest private property developer in Singapore, in the sale of units in various residential, commercial and mixed developments.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Working alongside colleagues in other departments, Shook Lin & Bok LLP leverages multi-disciplinary expertise in local commercial, industrial and residential property transactions as well as in China, India, and Indonesia. Chew Mei Choo impresses with her 'astute and deep knowledge of her field' and has over 30 years' experience in property development, securitisation, and finance. Lee Chau Hwei and Tan Woon Hum are the other key figures.

Practice head(s):

Chew Mei Choo

Other key lawyers:

Lee Chau Hwei; Tan Woon Hum

Testimonials

‘We like that SLB is a mid-sized firm and we find the team very personable and they always have time for us. The team also has deep knowledge in their respective domain. They are always one call away. Other bigger firms may have more clients and thus have correspondingly less time for us. The SLB team is always professional yet warm, and they evaluate options from all angles, not blindly siding the clients.’

‘Special mention goes to Ms Chew Mei Choo, a partner of the corporate real estate practice. She has provided incisive analysis and invaluable advice, and has impressed us with the astute and deep knowledge of her field. Her wide network of contacts also proved to be very useful when certain matters required immediate attention by third parties. ‘

Work highlights

  • Acted for Digital Realty Singapore 2 Pte Ltd in respect of its acquisition of a Loyang site to develop its third data centre facility in Singapore.
  • Acted as local counsel in advising the purchaser in relation to the acquisition of Oakwood Premier OUE Singapore, a luxury serviced residences and hotel business in Singapore’s central business district, for S$289 million in total.
  • Acting for HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore) Limited, the trustee of Ascendas Reit, in the proposed acquisition of a portfolio of 28 business park properties across three cities in the US and two Singapore properties for approximately S$1.66 billion.