Commercial property: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP's South Coast commercial property team focuses mainly on development, which it handles for clients across the commercial and residential fields. Oliver Sowton took over from Sean Palka as practice head after Palka departed the firm, and handles sale and purchase, asset management, and development for commercial clients including banks, trusts, tech companies, and port authorities, in addition to landlord and tenant and lease renewal work. Daniel Curtis and Elizabeth Covil also focus on commercial matters, with the former especially experienced in property finance, and the latter in sales and disposals. Iain Munro advises clients in the retail and care sectors. Hollie Jones is recommended for her broad experience, with particular strengths including portfolio management for landlords and corporate occupiers. John Shallcross has niche expertise in the implications of stamp duty land tax.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Sowton

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Curtis; Elizabeth Covil; Iain Munro; Hollie Jones; John Shallcross

Testimonials

‘Extremely professional, knowledgeable and responsive.’

‘Elizabeth Covil – highly professional and effective.’

Key clients

BAE Systems Plc & BAE group companies

Barker Mill Group of Trusts

Clydesdale Bank Plc

Cobra Coffee Limited

Costa Limited

Coutts & Co

David Lloyd Leisure

De La Rue Plc & De La Rue Group companies

Fitzroy Support

Forelle Estates Limited

Gada Property Investments Limited

Gentian Development Group

Harlequins Football Club

HSBC UK Bank Plc

Inchcape Family Investments Limited

Kerry Group Plc & group companies

Metro Bank Plc

Port of London Authority

Southern Co-operative Limited

Specsavers Optical Stores Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for food retailer Southern Co-op and its subsidiary Cobra Coffee in relation to its convenience store and Starbuck franchise roll-out and asset management of its 230+ combined store portfolio.
  • Acting for The Methodist Church on a wide range of instructions including sales, purchases, options, overage and various other esoteric agreements including dealing with all Charities Act and client-specific compliances.

Moore Barlow

Continuing to grow on the back of the 2020 merger of Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins, Moore Barlow boasts a large and varied team in the Hampshire area, with each partner heading a dedicated subdivision, under overall team lead Jo Farr in Guildford. Well known for his broad commercial property experience, Luc Algar heads the real estate division, with particular experience working for clients in the transport, logistics, and marine sectors. Julian Parkes is also noted in this area. Taking over from Stephen Ball, Sam Willey now heads the land development offering, which works closely with Zoe Owen‘s plot sales team to provide full-service support from project inception to disposal of finished units. Led by Jolanda Peters, the leasehold enfranchisement handles matters including lease extensions, collective enfranchisement, and right to manage claims, and was recently strengthened by the arrival of senior associate Louise Uphill, who is based in Richmond. Rural property, under Sarah Jordan, is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Jo Farr; Luc Algar; Sam Willey; Jolanda Peters; Zoe Owen; Sarah Jordan

Other key lawyers:

Louise Uphill

Testimonials

The team’s focus on our needs and responsiveness makes it feel like we have in-house legal counsel. We have several active matters at any one time, and they have worked with us to develop continually-improving management systems to ensure everyone is up to date with what is happening.’

Key clients

Vesta Investments Management Limited; and Vesta Investments Residential Limited

Family in Surrey

Fastned UK Limited

Albion & East Limited

Russbrit Limited

Inland Homes

Leith Limited and Bellstar Limited

Handelsbanken plc

Churchill Retirement Living Plc

Hall & Woodhouse Limited

The Halebourne Group

Orchard Farm Kennington Limited

Cloud Retail Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Leith Limited and Bellstar Limited on the disposition of a £8.6 million industrial business park.

Paris Smith LLP

With a sizeable team split across two offices in Southampton and Winchester, Paris Smith LLP has a strong commercial property presence in the Hampshire area. John Mansell leads both the broader property and planning department and the dedicated development practice, where Victoria Onoufriou is recommended. Also in planning, commercial property partner Emma Pope focuses mainly on permitted developments. Rachel Saint and Janet May are deputy team leads in Southampton, where they deal with retail and leisure and planning applications, respectively. Hannah Winchester works alongside Saint in the retail and leisure team, with experience in landlord and tenant work, investment and development site acquisitions, and portfolio management. As deputy head in Winchester, Stuart Allen acts for clients including banks, sector-specialist lenders, and HNW private lenders. He also coleads the property finance team. Claire Egerton's construction team provides additional support, while Joanne Spittles focuses on high-value acquisitions and disposals. Lisa Busby provides specialist advice to clients in the telecoms sector.

Practice head(s):

John Mansell; Rachel Saint; Janet May; Stuart Allen

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Busby; Claire Egerton; Victoria Onoufriou; Joanne Spittles; Hannah Winchester

Testimonials

‘What impresses me is how easy it is to do business with Paris Smith. It is typical for the same individuals to be your point of reference meaning that a relationship builds; but at the same time, introducing new specialists or assistance is seamless.’

‘Quality and speed of service. On the ball, hence early recognition of potential problems and pitfalls and advice re possible solutions. Excellent client relationship.’

‘Having worked with Paris Smith on several deals I have found the team helpful, forward thinking, competent and efficient.’

‘Lisa Busby did a magnificent job of shepherding me through the maze of legislation and then reducing options to intelligible lay-speak and advising how to apply preferences and desired outcomes to determine a path forward.’

‘I have particular recommendations for Joanne Spittles and her team. They have their client’s interest front and centre and deliver.’

Key clients

Interbay Funding Limited

The Co-operative Group Limited

Hillier Nurseries Limited

Hobbycraft Group Limited

The Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society

Associated British Ports

Highwood Group

Red Funnel

Ocea Group

Bourne Leisure

Hamdon Gate

BX Property Ltd

ECC Property Partners

Alfred Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised Interbay on a £30 million funding for a mixed-use portfolio client InterBay Commercial, part of the specialist bank OSB (One Savings Bank Plc) Group.
  • Advised The Co-operative Group Limited on their acquisition programme for new stores.
  • Advised Ocea Group on the acquisition of a large office block in Bristol plus some additional open land on the basis that the property was to be redeveloped under permitted development rights from offices to residential.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP fields a significant commercial property team from its office in Southampton, with experience handling the full range of real estate work for a diverse client base. Tim Burbridge heads the team, and acts primarily on development matters including option agreements, conditional contracts, overage payments, site assembly, and profit participation. Jonathan Hobbs advises investors on disposals and acquisitions across all asset classes, and Alistair Walton acts for corporate occupiers undertaking strategic acquisitions, retail chains doing acquisitions and disposals, and clients dealing with significant property portfolios. William Akerman handles investment and development work, and Adam Taylor-Smith is strong on clients in the logistics and hotels sector. Nikki Powell was promoted to partner in July 2021, and is developing a niche practice assisting clients with large-scale property maximisation programmes. Particular focuses in recent years has been the renewable energy sector, where Anthony Alderman is a key contact, and maritime estate management, where legal director Joanna Beattie-Edwards shines. Stephen Baker is well regarded for his broad commercial property experience, and managing associate Georgina Hook provides strong support. Associate Brittany Beaumont, who joined in May 2021 from Clyde & Co, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tim Burbidge

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Hobbs; Alistair Walton; William Akerman; Adam Taylor-Smith; Nikki Powell; Anthony Alderman; Joanna Beattie-Edwards; Stephen Baker; Georgina Hook; Brittany Beaumont

Testimonials

‘The team at WBD has a particularly strong commercial focus and at all stages seeks to understand the client’s key goals to achieve results-focused solutions. The team works collaboratively with others in the firm to deliver a seamless ‘full package’ service. WBD has real depth in the real estate sector with specialisms across all areas.’

‘Georgina Hook is highly proactive, pragmatic and consistently delivers. She is extremely client-focused and great at getting the deal done. Always a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Brittany Beaumont has a refreshingly direct communication style, free of legalese, and adopts a calm and flexible approach to deliver results under tight deadlines. She has been particularly effective in dealing with overage and other complex arrangements.’

Key clients

The Crown Estate

New Look Retailers

Babcock International Group Plc

Associated British Ports

Havant Borough Council

Moorfield Group

Rockspring UK Value 2 Fund (Patrizia Asset Managers)

Akelius

Tristan Capital/Addington Capital

Historic England

CooperVision

CareerBuilder LLC

Go Ape!

Quilter

London Borough of Sutton

Carpetright

Church Commissioners for England

BMO Property Growth and Income Fund

The Bournemouth Development Company LLP

Transdev

RATP Dev UK (London United)

Quidnet Capital Partners

Footlocker

AIG

Ann Summers

Equinor

Scottish Power

UKRI

HBOS Final Salary Pension Scheme / CBRE Investment Management

London Theatre Company

First Alliance

D&D London

Decathlon

Sofa Brand International Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Crown Estate on the coastal infrastructure relating to the proposed Sizewell C power station.
  • Acted on all aspects of the £102m acquisition and asset management of 11 distribution logistics assets totalling c. 1m sq. ft, culminating in the disposal of the holding SPV for Moorfield Group (MREF IV).
  • Advised Helical plc on the sale of the Powerhouse Portfolio, comprising three Manchester office assets, to real estate funds managed by Pictet Alternative Advisors, S.A. and XLB Property Limited, for a gross sale price of £119m.

Clarke Willmott LLP

With a client base including household names, developers, and investors, Clarke Willmott LLP's Southampton-based team is extending its reach across the region. Well regarded team head Peter Swinburn has specialisms including secured lending, development, and portfolio management, as well as landlord and tenant work. Joseph Campbell heads real estate banking and finance, and acts on acquisitions, disposals, and secured lending support. Andrew Cooper leads on investment, where he assists with acquisitions including retail and mixed-use centres, retail parks, and parades. Paul Hinett leads on ground rent investment, while Jin Takhar specialises in retail, portfolio management, and property finance. Kristian Johnson handles the real estate elements of mergers and acquisitions.

Practice head(s):

Peter Swinburn

Other key lawyers:

Joseph Campbell; Andrew Cooper; Paul Hinett; Jin Takhar; Kristian Johnson

Testimonials

‘High quality legal advice across a range of property matters with great customer focus at all levels.’

‘Full service practice with access to all aspects of our property finance requirements, with good client care and attentive service. Fees are reasonable too.’

‘Very approachable.’

‘All solicitors working on our account are highly responsive, technically strong and have good understanding of our business needs and timeframes required for delivery of transactions. Excellent legal advise having regard to commercial requirements of the business.’

‘The staff we deal with are always responsive and helpful. They always respond well to calls and emails. You always feel like you are getting good advice.’

‘Really good team, strongly led by Pete Swinburn, always find a way to provide a solution and keep us updated on progress with the transaction. Very supportive of the business and knowledgeable of the whole Real Estate market which helps with our clients and any issues that may arrive.’

‘Joe Campbell – a great property lawyer; always helpful and provides you with the solution rather than the problem.’

‘Joe Campbell and Kristian Johnson advise us and we always find we get straightforward advice, showing awareness of the commercial context.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Fat Face Limited

The Cornish Bakery Shops Limited

Persimmon Homes Limited

Sheet Anchor Evolve Limited

Sheet Anchor Evolve (London) Limited

Atelier Capital Partners Limited

Farrow & Ball Limited

Imperial Homes South Limited

Countryside Properties Limited

Volcap Student Homes

Work highlights

  • Advised Atelier Capital Partners Limited on development finance for the purpose of refinancing a property for development under a granted planning permission for a change of use from office to residential.
  • Advised Sheet Anchor Evolve London Limited on the acquisition of a shopping centre for the purchase price of £14,000,000.
  • Advised Persimmon Homes Limited on the acquisition of a residential development site in Hampshire.

Lester Aldridge LLP

Southampton-based Tom Alder heads Lester Aldridge LLP‘s real estate team, which handles the full range of commercial property work in areas including housebuilding, finance, and management. Lucy Stevens is well known for her work for clients in the hotels and leisure sector, as well as her work for regional and national developers and landowners. The team was strengthened by the summer 2021 arrivals of partners James Realff and Bethan Dodd. Realff is experienced in all aspects of commercial property, while Dodd has specialist expertise in the healthcare sector, where she acts for NHS foundation trusts, primary care providers, and care home operators, as well as investors and developers. Rebecca Humm adds strength in planning, and associate Sian Rogers is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Tom Alder

Other key lawyers:

Bethan Dodd; Rebecca Humm; James Realff; Lucy Stevens; Sian Rogers

Testimonials

‘The Lester Aldridge team provide a high standard of work whilst also being readily available for calls and respond quickly to emails. The high standard of client service and responsiveness makes Lester Aldridge stand out amongst their peers. Lester Aldridge are also readily able to take a pragmatic view of how best to apply the law to achieve a solution for their client, which takes an understanding of the commercial realities of the situation.’

‘Lucy Stevens has provided us with excellent service and is readily available to take a call or to respond quickly and grasp an understanding of complex issues and how best to deal with them. Lucy also regularly makes time to call clients to ensure they are happy with the progress of work being carried out by colleagues. The nature of the work our company asks Lucy to advise us on is extremely varied and has included some very unusual situations and each time Lucy and her team have strived to achieve a solution that is best for our interests in each situation.’

Key clients

McCarthy & Stone

Care South

Lloyds Bank plc

Fragrance Group

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP's large and experienced real estate team handles a range of commercial property work in the core areas of development, infrastructure and transport, investment and finance, and occupier. Its broad client base includes housebuilders and developers as well as businesses in the telecoms, healthcare, and education sectors. Practice head Joanne McGuiness specialises in rail infrastructure and regeneration projects, on which she advises developers, local authorities, owners, and users. Sara Hampson is experienced in residential and mixed development, including site assembly, acquisition, and sale. Mehar Patel focuses on property finance, as well as development, landlord and tenant work, and portfolio management. He is also increasingly active in advising on ESG. Associates Emily Stocker and Jess Ready are well known for their work in investment, commercial development, and infrastructure, with Ready developing a niche focus on air traffic control work.

Practice head(s):

Joanne McGuinness

Other key lawyers:

Sara Hampson; Mehar Patel; Emily Stocker; Jess Ready

Testimonials

‘Shoosmiths has a great understanding of our business and are aware of our constraints/challenges. They take the time to get to know us and our wider portfolio. This helps them to manage our real estate and support us to ensure there are no surprises and transactions are managed in a timely fashion.’

‘The team is well joined up and proactive. They have established a good client portal to cover our projects. We find the turnaround advice and actions are very good. They are good value for money.’

‘The team work closely together so it is pretty seamless for us even when team members move on. Joanne McGuinness leads by example and manages her team extremely well to ensure we the client comes first. Emily Stocker manages quite a few of our complex matters and also has her wider team supporting us.’

‘Emily Stocker always provides clear, positive legal advice in often complex and unusual circumstances.’

Key clients

Telefonica UK Limited

Hitachi Europe Limited

Hitachi Rail Limited

Dukes Education Group

The Hamleys Group

McCarthy & Stone Retirement Lifestyles Limited

Wolverhampton City Council

Thurrock Borough Council

South Somerset District Council

Almacantar Limited

Lifeways Care Group

Drew Smith Homes Limited

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) Limited

McKay Securities PLC

The Estate Office Shoreditch

Cavendish Education Group

Portsmouth City Council

Marsh Corporate Services Limited

Civil Nuclear Police Authority

Porterbrook Leasing Company Limited

Marsh Corporate Services Limited

IKEA Properties Investments Limited

Cignpost Diagnostics Limited

William Lacey Group Limited

BDW Trading Limited trading as Barratt David Wilson Homes Limited (Southern Counties)

London EV Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Dukes Education Group on the acquisition of £24.5m acquisition of Kneller Hall, a former school of music for HM armed forces.
  • Advised McKay Securities Plc on the acquisition of prime office space in Richmond.
  • Advised McCarthy Stone on the acquisition of an 8 acre retirement village near Petersfield.

Trethowans LLP

Headed by experienced property investment, finance, and development specialist Paul Longman, Trethowans LLP's commercial property group handles the range of matters for clients including developers and commercial tenants in a variety of sectors. The team works as one across multiple offices, with key support from Garry Treagust and Jenni Wicheard in Salisbury and James Kidner in Bournemouth. Treagust and Wicheard are well known in the pensions property sphere, while Kidner is experienced in residential work. Sarah Humphrey, based in Southampton, focuses on charity property. Salisbury-based partner Juliet Biddle is also recommended, as is associate Laura Towey.

Practice head(s):

Paul Longman

Other key lawyers:

Juliet Biddle; Sarah Humphrey; James Kidner; Garry Treagust; Jenni Wicheard; Laura Towey

Testimonials

‘Always available and willing to give advice on difficult and complex matters.’

‘What Trethowans consistently provide is an efficient and reliable service particularly in relation to sales, acquisitions, agreeing leases and a multitude of other property management related issues.’

‘Excellent client support, great communication and really good advice.’

‘Personable and easy to deal with and extremely good at getting the job done efficiently. There are a number of solicitors within the practice which I have had a positive experience of dealing with but I have predominantly dealt Juliet Biddle (now Partner Trethowans) over recent years who has consistently provided excellent advice and work.’

‘Accessibility and concise advice in real time.’

‘Juliet Biddle has been a breath of fresh air. Her service has been excellent, willing to go the extra mile, think outside the box to get a better solution. She always delivers what she says, when she says and for what she said it would cost. An experience that often fell short when dealing with other lawyers!’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank Plc

Santander UK Plc

HSBC Bank Plc

James Hay Pension Trustees Limited

Vivid Housing Association

Rowanmoor Trustees Limited

James Hay Pension Trustees Limited

Ladbrokes Coral Limited

Stannah Lifts Holdings Limited

Legal & General Assurance Society Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for a Hampshire landowner in sale of substantial land holding for a sum in excess of £10m to a national housebuilder.
  • Advising on the property side of the sale of Exall Jones Timber and Builders Merchants to Huws Gray Group, an independent builders’ merchant.
  • Multiple transactions involving the purchase by pension schemes of commercial properties ranging from a boatyard at a price of £1.9M to new build leasehold restaurant premises for a premium of over £800K.

Foot Anstey

The commercial property team in Foot Anstey's growing Southampton office handles a range of work for clients including housebuilders and developers, financial institutions, and businesses. Martin Hirst heads the team, as well as the firm's wider real estate group. Carol Phillips also heads the asset management team, and provides tenant legal services to household name clients in sectors including telecoms and transport. Tim Wheen joined in 2021, adding strength in site acquisitions, development, and planning. A key growth area is matters relating to nitrate neutrality: a complex and novel environmental issue with significant implications for development in the region, on which legal director Nicola Sutton  is a key contact. Marina Wickens acts for housebuilders and registered providers, and David Fanchi  provides property finance advice to lenders and borrowers. Associate Kate Taylor is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Martin Hirst

Other key lawyers:

Carol Phillips; Tim Wheen; David Fanchi; Nicola Sutton; Marina Wickens

Testimonials

‘There are two main areas that I feel set Foot Anstey LLP apart from other legal firms – their in-depth and specific knowledge of the retail sector and their ability to form open and honest relationships with their clients.’

‘Carol Phillips and Kate Taylor specifically have gone over and above to provide an elevated level of service during a large project that they were instructed on. They were present during every virtual team meeting, provided meaningful updates and made fantastic progress on difficult property deals that required more focus than most.’

Key clients

Screwfix Direct Ltd

B&Q Ltd

Direct Wines

South Coast Furnishing Company Limited

Silverfish

Work highlights

    BDB Pitmans

    Jonathan Fewster heads BDB Pitmans' real estate development department from the firm's London office. Deputy head Sarah Potter is based in Reading, where she heads the firm's Hampshire offering. The team acts for a client base including housebuilders and developers, port and harbour authorities, and local authorities. Sarah Potter brings broad experience including development agreements, conditional prelets, student accommodation, and property finance transactions. John Newton is also a key contact.

    Practice head(s):

    Jonathan Fewster

    Other key lawyers:

    Sarah Potter; John Newton

    Key clients

    Premier Marinas Limited

    Isle of Wight Council

    Ashill Land

    Westbourne Group Limited (Westbourne Homes)

    Brookworth Homes Limited

    CALA Group Limited (Cala Homes)

    Work highlights

    • Acted for Premier Marinas Limited in its acquisition of another operational marina and boat yard on the River Hamble.
    • Advised the Isle of Wight Council on letting a waterfront location with deep water access to provide a base on the Island for a leading ship builder.

    Dutton Gregory LLP

    Dutton Gregory‘s commercial property team is part of the firm’s wider property team, led by Chandlers Ford-based Paul Sams. Denise Bull heads the commercial property offering, and brings particular expertise in environmental matters. The team was strengthened by the recent hire of partner Ailsa MacLean from Downs Solicitors LLP. Associate Sophie Macarthy is also recommended, and in her time at the firm has set up dedicated subteams in the areas of healthcare and secured lending.

    Practice head(s):

    Paul Sams; Denise Bull

    Other key lawyers:

    Sophie Macarthy

    Testimonials

    ‘Friendly competent service at sensible cost. We left our previous solicitors because we felt that they encouraged legal work (and fees) regardless of the net benefit to us. Dutton Gregory have never given us cause to worry about that. Partner involvement is good, not just left to assistants, legal execs or secretaries.’

    ‘Friendly and competent service. Denise Bull is excellent.’

    Irwin Mitchell

    Irwin Mitchell fields a Southampton commercial property offering from its office in Chichester. Tina Webster is a key contact, with experience in large developments and regeneration schemes in both the commercial and residential sectors. She is especially well known for her work for clients in the education sector.

    Practice head(s):

    Tina Webster