Real estate in South Africa
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr fields a considerable and experienced team that operates at the forefront of development, finance and acquisition work, and has taken a leading position in the evolution of REITs in South Africa. It advised Vukile Property Fund, Arrowhead Properties and Synergy Income Fund on the creation of Gemgrow, a real estate fund; the matter involved a complex transfer of properties between Vukile and Synergy, along with taking into account securities and mortgage bonds provided by the properties in the three -listed entities. Attie Pretorius, William Midgley, Lucia Erasmus and John Webber are key names in the space.
ENSafrica continues to impress in acquisitions, disposals and development projects. The firm is praised for its 'attention to detail', regular updates and 'fantastic paralegal support'. It advised Zwelabantu Dube Community Property Association, as the landowner, on the development of the mixed-use Blythedale Coastal Resort. Andrew Bembridge, Fritz Schulz and Len Vorster are key names, along with Lee-Anne Hopley whose 'attention to detail, knowledge of the field and inclination to go the extra mile is a stand-out factor'.
Hogan Lovells (South Africa) has a deep background in real estate, especially commercial and residential developments in Johannesburg. It advised Propertuity Development on the Craftsman’s Ship development in the Maboneng District, Johannesburg. Team members provide a 'personal service' and are 'prepared to go out of their way to assist and provide the necessary legal guidance'. Emili Souris and Penny Chenery are key partners.
Norton Rose Fulbright has a substantial real estate team across its Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban offices. The group has been at the forefront of land-issues relating to South Africa's renewable energy programme. It also has an established presence in corporate leases and major real estate developments. Pieter Niehaus heads the department.
Webber Wentzel has 'very good conveyancing and commercial partners' who have 'a practical and personal approach', are 'very knowledgeable' and 'able to quickly advise on complex problems'. It advised Anglo American on the disposal of certain Eskom-tied thermal coal operations in South Africa, involving the transfer of properties, to Seriti Resources Holdings. Mark McIntosh is 'incredibly knowledgeable and solution oriented', Desiree Bayman is 'very thoughtful' and Sulani Jooste heads the team.
Werksmans Attorneys recruited Fátima Rodrigues from Fluxmans to head the Johannesburg team and provide additional commercial and development expertise. The wider department is 'commercial' and has extensive experience in large brownfield and mixed-use developments. It assisted Tsogo Sun Holdings with Tsogo and Hospitality Property Fund's acquisition of casino precinct properties owned by the Tsogo Group; this was one of the largest restructuring and property disposals ever concluded in South Africa. Hendrik Kotze in Cape Town is another key name.
Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP
Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP's growing presence in South Africa increasingly centres on real estate assets. The cross-practice team has an esteemed reputation and acts for an illustrious client base, including a number of big-name lenders. It advised Nedbank on the additional financing provided to Att Moa 20 for the Mall of Africa development. Lionel Shawe, Khurshid Fazel and counsels Nick Grootes and Cynthia Venter are recommended; Venter is praised for her 'skills, expertise, attention to detail and turnaround times'.
Bowmans impresses in a range of real estate matters including development and redevelopment engagements. It advised Eris Property Group and WBHO Construction on the acquisition, development and management of student accommodation in Hatfield Pretoria. The team is 'responsive and attentive to detail', 'great to work with', 'professional' and 'willing to drop everything and assist if required'. Craig Schafer and Samantha Saffy are the key partners. Senior associate Julia Power is also praised by clients.
Glyn Marais' broader practice is in large part centred on real estate. It acts for major real estate clients and has a huge amount of experience within the Sandton office, most notably in celebrated figure Brian Frank. The firm is at the forefront of a number of niche areas such as the variable loan stock structure and specialised property funding schemes. Clients include Accelerate Property Fund, V&A Waterfront Holdings and Group Five. Francois Marais is another key name and senior associate Ashleigh Dawson is also noted.