Commercial property: Bristol in South West
The 'proactive and responsive’ Burges Salmon LLP provides a 'good cross-section of knowledge, personalities and experience' in commercial property across key sectors, notably energy, transport, rural estates, and hotels and leisure. As well as strength in international work, the firm has a particular focus on the nuclear and renewables field. Nuclear industry expert Paul Browne co-leads the practice with Richard Clark, who is known for transactional real estate asset management, investment and development, acting for public and private sector clients. Also recommended are Richard Read, who specialises in the mainstream offices, retail and industrial asset classes, as well as student accommodation, hotels and leisure; Euan Bremner, who is head of the energy, power and utilities sector group; and legal director Chris Bartlett, who advises on a range of real estate matters.
‘Richard Clark is excellent at staying in contact and shows an interest in what we do and our overall business’
‘There is top-to-bottom collaboration in understanding the issues involved in a project – from the partner in charge to the senior associate and the solicitor’
‘Ready to discuss all different aspects and, where necessary, to bring in specialists in particular subjects without being protective of their position’
‘Richard Clark and senior associate Sally-Anne Hayles are particular standouts’
‘Not only does the firm provide a good service, but I equally feel comfortable working with key contacts’
‘Richard Clark has seen it all’
‘David Benjamin is a safe pair of hands on the property litigation side’
The Crown Estate
John Lewis plc and Waitrose & Partners
University of Bristol
Transport for London/Greater London Authority
Lloyds Banking Group
- Advising Stevenage Borough Council on a £350m town centre regeneration project, including providing advice on the selection of Mace as the development partner following a competitive tender.
- Advising Malaysian property developer YTL on the development of the 354-acre Filton Airfield site in Bristol, one of the largest brownfield development sites in the UK.
- Advising Gardiner Haskins on the proposed disposal and redevelopment of a Grade II listed warehouse and adjoining site in central Bristol, including negotiating the sale of the site to London-based developer First Base Ltd.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft LLP advises shopping centres, developers, plc occupiers, and public and private healthcare bodies on a range of commercial property matters. The firm has a particular focus on the NHS, advising trusts and foundations on asset management, projects and disposals. Practice head Nick Knapman specialises in real estate dispute resolution and lease advisory work. Also notable in the team is Graham Brothwood, who has expertise in acting for large corporate owners and occupiers.
‘The team has considerable resources available to enable thorough and comprehendible advice to be given on most issues no matter how diverse. The advice comes from primarily a legal perspective but also shows commercial understanding.’
‘Richard Cross is extremely thorough and thoroughly reliable. He is a massive benefit to any contract negotiations being both firm but also personable.’
‘The DAC team are excellent. Their advice is always consistent and reliable. However, their real strength is working to corporate deadlines and playing a key role in driving the projects forward. Their proactive approach enables sites to be delivered swiftly and efficiently.’
‘Ben Parisar and Amy Glover are excellent. Always helpful and eager to give assistance.’
‘Approachable and prepared to give an opinion. Always make themselves available.’
‘Always have time for me when we discuss cases. Professional and personable and very reliable.’
Crest Nicholson plc
Intu Properties plc
LandSec (aka Land Securities Group plc)
Zurich Insurance plc
Bellway Homes Limited
St James’s Place Wealth Management Group Limited
Deeley Freed Estates Limited
Vistry (formerly Bovis Homes)
AXA Insurance UK plc
Triple Point Social Housing
- Acting for St James’s Place (and its subsidiary Rowan Dartington) on a number of lease transactions in Bristol, Exeter and London as part of the reconfiguration of the client’s office portfolio.
- Acting for Lendlease on all lettings at the Touchwood shopping and entertainment complex in Solihull, including advising on an upsize to the Apple store and a renewal with H&M.
- Acting for Landsec, as landlord, on lettings at the Bluewater Kent, Trinity Leeds and Southside Wandsworth shopping centres.
Osborne Clarke specialises in development, transactional and leasing work across the spectrum of real estate asset classes. The firm advises on mixed-use, residential and commercial real estate, as well as providing expertise in litigation and a London transactional practice. Michelle McGurl leads the team and focuses on residential and mixed-use development work. Also notable are Ian Wilkinson, whose strengths include acquisitions, disposals, forward funding and asset management; David North, who acts for developers and investors in commercial real estate and student accommodation; Alice Conway, who has experience in investment and development matters across asset classes; and associate director Joanna Risdale, who advises clients on a range of real estate transactions. Steven Schofield joined the firm from Thrings LLP in 2019.
‘The team have a great ability to deal with those issues that matter rather than labour over the insignificant, providing advice that is constructive and relevant.’
‘Not only do the Real Estate team provide high quality advice but they are also pleasant to work with, making the experience a pleasure rather than a trial.’
‘Extremely personable, knowledgeable and market leading individuals.’
‘Michelle McGurl gives particularly clear and considered advice. In negotiation she acts in a very collaborative way, instead of locking horns and scoring legal points she uses a very measured approach to get things done without ever compromising the commercial position. Her teamwork with Victoria Stanley has been fantastic and as a team they have been considered, clear and quick – the three things we as clients really value.’
‘Highly pragmatic, completed focused on delivering the end result.’
‘Ian Wilkinson – hugely experienced, brilliant problem-solving mentality.’
CBRE Global Investors
BDW Trading Limited
Galliford Try PLC and Linden Limited
InfraRed Capital Partners
Mayfair Capital Partners
- Acting for The Waterfront Limited Partnership on the leasing of units at the Icon Outlet at The O2 in London, as well as a £230m refinancing.
- Assisting Sovereign Housing Association with its joint venture with Crest Nicholson to acquire the Harry Stoke development in Bristol.
- Advising Fulham Wharf LLP (a joint venture between L&Q and Barratt) on the forward sale and development agreement in respect of a 162-unit luxury senior living scheme in Fulham Wharf.
The national practice of Bevan Brittan LLP specialises in real estate development, with an emphasis on advising national landowners. The firm has a growing private sector practice, complementing its traditional focus on the local authority, housing and healthcare sectors. The practice also advises on the disposal and redevelopment of hospital sites in London, as well as regeneration sites for London boroughs. Mark Calverley leads the team and specialises in regeneration and development projects.
‘Consistently excellent: high degree of integrity and genuine commitment to relationship management; value added by optimising outcomes and overcoming challenges / mitigating risks.’
‘Steven Smith – Pragmatic and with genuine business expertise.’
‘Mark Robertson – A pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable.’
‘Excellent communicators and understand the client. As a Charity with a large property portfolio it is vital our solicitors have a detailed knowledge of our specific requirements. They do and have a very professional team. Separation of legal and commercial issues is a definite strength of theirs.’
‘Long-term understanding of client specific issues and speed of response times. Their fees also represent very good value for money.’
Canal & River Trust
Slough Borough Council
Places for People Homes Limited
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
London Borough of Hounslow
NHS Property Services Limited
London Borough of Havering
United Communities Limited
Sanctuary Affordable Housing Limited
- Advised Canal & River Trust on the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary, British Waterways Marinas Limited (BWML), to private equity investor LDC.
- Advising Slough Borough Council on its proposed procurement of a multi-phase, residential-led regeneration of the former Thames Valley University site and other adjoining land in Slough town centre.
- Acting for Places for People Homes Limited on contracting to acquire private rental units within phase 1 of the East Wick and Sweetwater development at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford from the London Legacy Development Corporation.
Experienced in the housebuilding, commercial development and investment sectors, Clarke Willmott LLP handles property portfolio management, property acquisitions and disposals for local and national clients. The firm provides expertise in the telecoms and renewable energy sectors, including advising on purely energy-based transactions and mixed-use regeneration and development schemes. The ‘always trustworthy and reassuring’ William Juckes leads the practice and specialises in property portfolio management.
‘I have been impressed with their responsiveness, professionalism and pragmatic approach’
‘They turn matters around promptly and provide sound, reassuring advice on the aspects that really matter’
‘A special mention must go to partner William Juckes, who has always been available throughout each instruction. He is able to pick out and focus on the main commercial points that need to be navigated and negotiated, and always keeps an eye on the big picture and protecting his client’s interests’
‘Experience and commerciality’
Vistry Homes Limited
BDW Trading Limited
Crest Nicholson Operations Limited
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Bath Recreation Ltd
Persimmon Homes Limited
Henry Boot Developments Limited
- Acted for Bovis Homes on its joint venture with the Metropolitan Thames Valley housing association to build a 783-home development in Cambourne, outside Cambridge.
- Advising Bath and North East Somerset Council on various projects, including advice on the administration of House of Fraser (a tenant of the council in an iconic store on the city’s main retail street).
- Advising the trustees of the Recreation Ground Bath (Bath Recreation Limited) in connection with their ownership of the freehold of the recreation ground and the potential redevelopment of Bath Rugby’s stadium on the ground.
TLT specialises in property matters related to the energy and leisure sectors, as well as electric vehicles charging structure work. Renewable energy expert Maria Connolly leads the team and advises on a range of property matters, including the acquisition of energy projects, drafting bespoke documentation, negotiation of exclusivity agreements and due diligence. She can call on the expertise of Julia Lucas, who focuses on the leisure, food and drink sectors, notably acting for brewers and pub companies.
Other key lawyers:
‘Strong knowledge of the sector, very good client coverage and practical commercial advice.’
‘Maria Connolly and Phil Collis always provide exceptional advice in an efficient and cost effective manner. They ensure that their clients interests are protected in a commercial manner.’
UKRO Property Holdings I Limited
Westerliegh Group Plc
Regional Blue Light Authority
Plymouth City Council
Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited
Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon & Somerset
- Acting on behalf of Hong Kong-based fund UKRO Property Holdings I Limited in acquiring regional office properties through a Jersey-based SPV.
- Advising Westerleigh Group on the structured refinance of a portfolio of 35 crematoria sites and other real estate assets.
- Assisting Avon and Somerset Police with the implementation of its three-year disposal, acquisition and estate management strategy.
Full-service firm Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP has particular property expertise in the retail and energy sectors. The firm’s experience also covers rail infrastructure, institutional investment and public sector development. Simon Hughes focuses on project development work for new generation projects. He co-leads the team with Katherine Douglas, who advises on the drafting and negotiating of development agreements and building leases, as well as negotiating pre-lets for landlords and tenants. Also notable is Andrew Harding, who specialises in real estate institutional investment and development projects.
‘We work with people we know and trust’
Bristol City Council
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
Renewable Energy Systems Limited
Post Office Limited
Ashfield Land Limited
Macquarie Private Capital
South Gloucestershire District Council
University of Bath
West Devon Borough Council
Gilletts (Callington) Limited
- Advising North Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council and Bath & North East Somerset Council on land acquisition and key agreements for the £100m project to reopen the railway line between Bristol and Portishead for passenger train services.
- Advising Ashfield Land Limited on the acquisition and sale of a residential development site at Aylesbury forming part of a sub-sale and ultimate disposal to Barratt Homes.
- Acting for the Home Office on the acquisition of various sites across the country to provide infrastructure for the new emergency services 4G network.
Ashfords LLP specialises in the residential housing and retail sectors, particularly franchising-related work. The practice is co-led by Andrew Worley, who has expertise in the leases of retail property and purchasing property for personal pension schemes; Paul Butterworth, who advises housing clients on major regeneration and development projects; and Kate Topp, who has experience acting for residential developers, landowners and promoters in relation to residential development. The team was also boosted by the 2019 arrivals of associate Ian Tompkins from Osborne Clarke and legal director Ben Tarrant from Thrings LLP.
‘Strong advice and very commercial’
‘Hardworking and understand our business’
‘David Morris and Will Hammond provided professional advice that was first class, advising on all angles and eventualities. They are both commercial and pragmatic, coupling expert advice with a fantastic work ethic and great teamwork throughout my time working with them. I would strongly recommend them to any peers and they are key to the high regard in which I currently hold Ashfords’
‘David Morris is very responsive, takes a good commercial view and get deals done’
‘Andy Worley is very attentive, gives a good balanced view and provides advice with a commercial mind’
David Wilson Homes South West
Crest Nicholson Operations Limited
Wainhomes Severn Valley Limited
Vistry Homes Limited
Sovereign Housing Association
LiveWest Homes Limited
UK Storage Company (SW) Limited
- Acting for the Aster Group on the purchase of land for 148 affordable housing units across four section 106 development sites in Sussex, Hampshire and Cornwall from Linden Homes and its subsidiary companies.
- Acting for Crest Nicholson Operations Limited on the unconditional purchase of a serviced parcel of land for the construction of approximately 155 dwellings.
- Acting for Loungers UK Limited on a number of site acquisitions.
Foot Anstey covers the spectrum of commercial property work, acting for landowners, developers, corporate occupiers and infrastructure companies. The firm provides experience in property portfolio management and the sale and acquisition of freehold property, as well as specialising in development and infrastructure projects. The team is co-led by Martin Hirst, who focuses on developments, from site acquisition through to disposal; Stuart Cleak, who has particular strength in the renewables and energy sectors; and finance expert Imam Qazi.
‘Pragmatic, commercial advice.’
‘Stuart Cleak is pragmatic and commercial – seeking solutions in a collaborative manner.’
Screwfix Direct Limited
First Group plc
Mole Valley Farmers
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
- Acting as BSR’s main legal adviser across a number of workstreams, including real estate.
- Advising the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on a major regeneration scheme.
- Advising Screwfix on the continued roll-out of English trade counters.
Thrings LLP advises on residential developments, corporate occupier matters and secured lending, particularly acting for high-street lenders and modern lenders. The firm also has experience handling inward-bound development work from Singapore and Hong Kong. The team is co-led by Warren Reid, Ben Jones, Gemma Featonby and Robert Barnes. In 2019 Steve Schofield left the firm for Osborne Clarke and Ben Tarrant departed for Ashfords LLP.
CURO ENTERPRISES LIMITED
BAYLIS ESTATES LIMITED
BLUE CEDAR HOMES
CREATE REAL ESTATE
- Acting for a plc bank in connection with a £20m development finance revolving credit facility.
- Advising Newland Homes Limited on the property aspects of a site in Trowbridge.
- Acting for Create Real Estate on the purchase of Avonside Enterprise Park, located in Melksham, Wiltshire.
'Very responsive, practical and good value for money’, VWV provides 'public sector knowledge and experience', as well as 'excellent, commercial and considered advice' in the commercial property field. The firm has particular expertise in residential development, corporate occupier work, and the education and retail sectors. The team is co-led by Huw Morgan, Steven McGuigan, Michelle Bendall and Jackie Roe.
‘Steve McGuigan and Ruth Glinister are highly recommended. They are both extremely client and solutions focused and always prepared to go the extra mile’
‘The approachability of everyone I have dealt with and the practical approach to issues that crop up is notable’
‘Richard Vann Jones provides intelligent analysis of complex titles with clear explanations and proactive advice’
‘Michelle Bendall and Georgina Little are prompt to respond, give practical advice and get results’
‘Availability is excellent and they are always happy to offer solutions to problems that we encounter’
‘They remain professional in discussions with other solicitors during negotiations’
‘Stephen McGuigan and Rory Young are approachable and professional. They are hugely knowledgable within the property sector and help guide us through the completion process on our development deals’
‘They offer suggestions and solutions when we encounter problems and remain commercial and pragmatic’
Crest Nicholson Group
University of Bristol
Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency
Berkeley Homes (Central London) Limited
Diocese of Truro
Henry Boot Developments Limited
The University of Reading
Epic Asset Management
REAch2 Academy Trust
Cotswold District Council
- Advised the University of Reading on the disposal of a significant landholding near Didcot, which has outline planning consent for a mixed-used development.
- Advising the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency on issues across its national estate, including freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals.
- Advised Henry Boot plc on the terms of a joint venture agreement with a higher education landowner in relation to the promotion and development of a mainly greenfield site.