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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South West > Real estate > Commercial property: Bristol > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Commercial property: Bristol
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Burges Salmon LLP¬†is widely regarded as one of ‚Äėthe best legal firms in the region‚Äô and ‚Äėcompares very well to the more expensive Magic Circle firms‚Äô. The team, which is split into specialist sub-groups, is regularly involved in major development projects, strategic land deals and procurement, infrastructure property mandates and investment transactions. Richard Clark¬†heads the cross-department real estate sector group and advised Aerium Finance on its acquisition of units in a Jersey Property Unit Trust (JPUT), which was financed by Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and an ultra-high-net-worth shari‚Äôah investor. The development practice is headed by the ‚Äėinvaluable‚Äô Ross Polkinghorne, who is advising Change Real Estate on all real estate aspects of the ¬£200m¬†mixed-use regeneration project at Redcliff Quarter in Bristol. Similarly, Philip Beer¬†is acting for the Greater London Authority in relation to its development partner arrangements with a Chinese developer for the ¬£1.7bn regeneration project at Royal Albert Dock in east London. Richard Read, who leads the property investment group, assisted Virgin Active with the disposal of 16 health and racquet clubs to David Lloyd Leisure. Colin Ligman¬†heads the wider real estate department, which includes Euan Bremner¬†and senior associate Drew Nesbitt.

The team at Osborne Clarke¬†‚Äėprovides a level of service that matches anyone out there, while being personable and easy to deal with in a way one doesn‚Äôt always get with London firms‚Äô. Headed by Ian Wilkinson¬†(‚Äėa vastly experienced property lawyer‚Äô) the real estate group is especially strong in asset management mandates and property investment transactions in the student housing, renewable energy and retail sectors. Working alongside the funds and tax teams, Wilkinson assisted CBRE Long Income Property Club No1 Unit Trust with its ¬£161m acquisition of the Park Plaza Hotel at Waterloo in London. David North¬†advised Arlington Investors on the acquisition and debt financing of a portfolio of fully let student accommodation assets. The team also advised Credit Suisse on the forward funding in connection with the ¬£56m acquisition of Two Central Square, Cardiff. Dolf Darnton¬†assisted Mitie Group with the relocation of its UK headquarters to the Shard in London, and handles ongoing real estate matters for Marks & Spencer. In the development space, Michelle McGurl¬†acted for Barratt Developments in relation to a ¬£100m development at Ebbsfleet. Additional contacts include associate director¬†Alice Conway, legal director Matt Ashley¬†and David Powell, who heads the development practice.

The property department at Bevan Brittan LLP is highly regarded for its prolific healthcare property management practice and for advising local authorities on major regeneration projects. Indeed, department head Mark Calverley is assisting the London Borough of Newham with the procurement of a joint venture partner for the redevelopment of the highly publicised 23-acre Carpenters Estate in Stratford. Similarly, David Wardle is acting for the London Borough of Hounslow in relation to the £100m redevelopment of the Hounslow Town Primary School and the provision of over 250 additional dwellings. In the healthcare space, Rob Harrison is advising NHS Property Services on the long-running documentation of 4800 undocumented health and commercial occupiers across 10% of its entire health estate; Harrison also provides comprehensive portfolio management advice to the client, which includes disposals, development work and disputes. Moreover, David Hobbs is handles portfolio management work for Canal & River Trust, which holds a £500m property portfolio. Alison Buckingham is instructed by housing associations.

Clarke Willmott LLP¬†is ‚Äėvery comparable to most of its top regional competitors‚Äô and has particular strengths in residential and commercial development and property investment transactions. On the residential side, Greg Lovett¬†advised Barrett Developments on its ¬£75m acquisition, from Heron Developments, of land holdings and contractual positions in Bristol; this marked one of the client‚Äôs largest acquisitions outside of London. Also in the development space, Laurence Lacey¬†acted for a government entity in relation to a highly publicised complex redevelopment project in the UK. Lacey also handles development mandates in the renewable energy sector. Helen Wittram¬†assisted Stonewater with a number of matters in 2017 including the negotiation and exchange of a land and building agreement with Bellway Homes involving the construction and sale of 70 affordable homes. William Juckes¬†leads the commercial property team in Bristol, while Louise Brown¬†heads the firm‚Äôs wider real estate group. Beverley Pike¬†and Philip Thompson¬†are additional contacts.

DAC Beachcroft LLP¬†is ‚Äėundoubtedly one of the most proactive and professional legal advisers in the South West commercial property market‚Äô. The firm is best known for its comprehensive real estate work in the shopping centre sector, but has also developed a strong reputation in the house builder market and the property investment space. Of particular note, Nick Knapman¬†led a team including Richard Cross¬†that assisted Westfield Europe with the leasing arrangements for and subsequent opening of the 740,000 sq ft¬†expansion of Westfield London, which is now the largest shopping centre in Europe. Similarly, Julitta Yates¬†advises Land Securities on all landlord and tenant arrangements for the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent. Intu Properties is another major shopping centre client. Acting for banks and alternative lenders, Michael Pearce¬†has experience in real estate investment finance and has advised peer-to-peer funder Lendy on multiple bridging and development loans. Ben Pariser¬†leads the residential development practice and is instructed by clients such as Crest Nicholson and Bellway Homes. Graham Brothwood¬†and Michael Bothamley¬†jointly head the real estate group.

TLT¬†'s real estate department ‚Äėconsistently delivers high-quality service‚Äô. Acting for banks, developers and corporate occupiers, among other market participants, the team handles development, asset management and investment mandates for clients across a range of industry sectors. David Smithen¬†advised General Mediterranean Holdings on the conditional site assembly, development, planning and funding of a ¬£182m mixed-use development project at London‚Äôs Bridge Park. In the investment space, Andrew Glynn¬†assisted PINE Unit Trust (a specialist education JPUT) with its ¬£95m real estate disposal to USS Investment Management. Daniel Halstead¬†has experience in the student accommodation and healthcare sectors and recently advised The Mansion Group on its disposal of various operational student housing schemes in Colchester and Bristol. Halstead also assisted 90 North Real Estate Investment Partners with its ¬£50.5m disposal of 12 care homes to two REITs. Additional key figures include Julia Lucas, department head Maria Connolly, who has expertise in renewable energy development, and Julian Mant, who provides ongoing portfolio management advice to Greene King.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP¬†is ‚Äėhighly rated against its peer group‚Äô, and has particular strength in regeneration and development mandates, particularly in the renewable energy and rail infrastructure sectors. Simon Hughes, who leads the group‚Äôs energy and natural resources property practice, advised Dudgeon Offshore Wind on the leasing arrangements and associated rights for a ¬£1.5bn offshore wind farm development and continues to assist the client with landowner negotiations for the 48km landward side cable. Hughes also acted for a consortium of local authorities in connection with the land acquisition and agreements for the reopening of passenger train services between Bristol and Portishead. Similarly, Katherine Douglas¬†assisted Three Rivers District Council with the CPO strategy, planning process and development leases for the ¬£172m mixed-use South Oxhey Initiative.¬†Andrew Harding¬†advised Bristol City Council on the conditional sale of a high profile site to the University of Bristol. Managing associate Mark Li¬†assisted Network Rail Infrastructure with the grant of the South Western Franchise for passenger trains to First MTR South Western Trains, which involved leasing arrangements at 185 rail stations and eight light maintenance depots. Fiona O‚ÄôKane¬†heads the real estate business group.

Foot Anstey’s Bristol-based property group is best known for assisting nationally operating corporates with property portfolio matters. Richard Walford  advises FirstGroup on issues concerning its Great Western Railway property portfolio, which has recently included advice on the redevelopment of Paddington Station to support the Crossrail. Walford also provides ongoing property portfolio advice to Screwfix. Richard Sutton acted for South Gloucestershire and Stroud College Commercial Services in relation to a building lease granted to Welink Group for the development of a site at the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park. Additionally, Paul Clark and Imam Qazi are regularly instructed by banks and investment groups in relation to cross-border property investment transactions and development financing. The commercial property group is headed by Martin Hirst, who practices out of the firm’s Southampton office and has particular expertise in residential development.

The property team at Thrings LLP has experience in residential development, corporate occupier mandates and property investment transactions, and is particularly active in the healthcare, retail, leisure and mining and minerals sectors. In the housing space, Steve Schofield advised Newland Homes on its acquisition of a development site, which will be the client’s largest development in the South West to-date. Legal director Robert Barnes has experience in secured lending and recently counselled a high-street lender on the provision of a development finance secured lending facility. David Mears is another key figure in the team.

VWV's¬†commercial property group has particular expertise in the education and healthcare sectors, and public sector work more generally. Steven McGuigan¬†heads the practice group and has a notably wide-ranging practice. McGuigan advised The University of Bristol on its ¬£11.8m acquisition of St. Augustine‚Äôs Courtyard, and also assisted Highways England Company with the negotiation of two options agreements concerning a section of the M49 motorway. The department head is also assisting Fareham Borough Council with various land agreements concerning the National Grid‚Äôs IFA2 project. In the house builder space, a team including senior associate Gemma Williams¬†advises a national house builder on its disposals nationwide. Further, Jessica Booz¬†(‚Äėa consummate professional‚Äô) is acting for a residential developer in relation to various plot sales and leases on a London development site. Additional contacts include Ben Willis, Simon Linnitt¬†and senior associate¬†Robin Rajanah.

Headed by Edward Langford, the ‚Äėcompetent and efficient‚Äô team at Meade King LLP¬†specialises in real estate development, and property transactions, particularly in the in the healthcare sector. Langford has considerable experience in handling the property aspects of sale and purchase transactions involving healthcare businesses and dental surgeries. Catherine Ainley¬†focuses on acting for developers in development site and land transactions. Additionally, Simon East¬†handles property portfolio management and is instructed by charities and corporate clients.

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