Commercial property in Wales

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Led by Kathryn Cook,  Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's 10-partner Cardiff-based team has the strength-in-depth to be able to handle a tremendous range and volume of commercial property work for a balanced array of investors, developers and occupiers. Acting on its own and also in conjunction with lawyers from the firm's wider network of offices, the scope of the work extends beyond the boundaries of Wales and regularly includes big-ticket national and international mandates. Energy-related real estate work is a specialism of the team, with James Trafford (who now heads the global corporate real estate practice at the firm) and Geraint Pullin Thomas key practitioners within the space. As well as having the strength-in-depth within the team to allocate resources to real estate work to certain industry sectors (with transport being another key area), the team also has partner-level specialisations relating to different real estate stakeholders. Of these, David Emberson focuses on investor work on behalf of key institutional clients, including SEGRO and Kevin Booth focuses on developer work, from inception through to ultimate disposal. Helen ThomasDavid Watkins and Jonathan Woodward are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Roberts

Testimonials

‘The Cardiff real estate team provide a first-rate, professional service which is unmatched across the sector leading the way in residential investment, development and construction.’

‘David Watkins superbly manages the team to ensure we get all the support we need.’

‘Geraint Pullin Thomas has fantastic knowledge of and relationships with clients to ensure the right resources in terms of skill sets and manpower are allocated to the various work streams. Unequalled commitment to the client.’

‘Jonathan Woodward is bright, enthusiastic, provides full commitment to the transactions engaged on, is always available to take on challenging tasks.’

‘Janet Morgan manages the transaction team to deliver a great client service, ensuring that all matters are progressed to completion with least impact on client. Handles a range of transactional work across the residential spectrum to the highest standards.’

Key clients

Transport for London

GlaxoSmithKline Plc

SEGRO Plc

British Gas/Centrica

Annington Limited

CBRE Global Investors

Persimmon Homes

EDF Energy

RWE

Work highlights

  • Advised Network Rail on the £1.45bn sale of its Commercial Estate, comprising 5,200 properties, for to Blackstone and Telereal Trillium.
  • Assisted Raymond James (a US investment bank and wealth management business) with its acquisition of some space in the prestigious Ropemaker Place for their London Headquarters.
  • Acted for GlaxoSmithKline Plc in the high-value sale of their circa 300,000 sq ft three building office campus at Stockley Park West, Uxbridge to Prologis.

Acuity Law

Recognised in the market for its 'entrepreneurial approach', which recently manifested itself through the firm's merger in mid-2018 with London-based corporate, finance and property boutique Maple & Black, Acuity Law continues to provide a 'very professional and pragmatic' service to lenders and developers on local and UK-wide projects. Rightacres remains the team's cornerstone client, and in light of its involvement in the majority of the major developments in central Cardiff over recent years, continues to keep the team extremely busy on the development front. Gareth Baker has been at the forefront of the firm's work for Rightacres on its regeneration scheme in Cardiff's Central Square, and alongside the 'superbJonathan Geen is currently advising the developer on the £100m mixed-use development for the construction of the Interchange Building in Central Square. The 'responsive and helpfulDamien Cann has also been pivotal to the aforementioned mandate, given his expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of innovative funding arrangements to facilitate such a deal. As well as his local work, Stephen Morris  has also been particularly active advising on projects outside of Wales, including in relation to a significant mixed housing scheme in London.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Geen; Stephen Morris; Gareth Baker

Other key lawyers:

Damien Cann; Edward Finley; Ben Honour; Charlotte Whitehead; Robert Senior

Testimonials

The team is very professional, hands on and pragmatic.

The firm provides a personal service to a highly professional standard.

Damien Cann and Charlotte Whitehead are both extremely helpful, they are responsive and efficient and always willing to provide excellent advice, guidance and service.

Key clients

Rightacres Property Co. Limited

Hadston Southwark Ltd

Community Homes of Intensive Care and Education Limited

Mears Group

Associated British Ports

Principality Building Society

IQE plc

Greenbank Properties

Sinclair Garages

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Work highlights

  • Advised Rightacres on the redevelopment of the £100m Transport Interchange building currently being developed on the eastern side of Central Square following the acquisition of the remainder of the site from Network Rail by Rightacres.
  • Acting for Principality Building Society in relation to the drawing down of a new facility by Tirion Group Limited to continue the development by Ely Bridge Development Company of the affordable element (442 homes) of a total development of 800 homes on a 53 acre site to the west of Cardiff city centre.
  • Continue to be appointed to advise on and progress a joint venture property development arrangement for University of Wales, Trinity Saint David which will transform the SA1 area of Swansea, building on the work already commenced by the University to develop new campuses on that site.

Blake Morgan LLP

Led by the 'knowledgeable and responsiveJames EganBlake Morgan LLP's five-partner team has a well-hedged practice in the commercial property sphere, as a result of its work for a balanced array of investors, developers,  lenders and end users engaged in private and public sector mandates. Praised for his 'conscientious and practical approach', Geoff Reed typifies this eclectic workload, although he is perhaps best-known for his work on high-value domestic development transactions. Nigel Griffiths is also recommended and continues to oversee a thriving retail leasing offering for landlords and tenants in a major London retail space.

Practice head(s):

James Egan

Other key lawyers:

Geoff Reed; Philip Jardine; Nigel Griffiths; Louise Howells; Daniela Smith; Dawn Smith; Gareth Howlett

Testimonials

James Egan is knowledgeable and responsive.

Geoff Reed is conscientious and practical.

Key clients

Canary Wharf Group Plc

Welsh Government

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Cardiff University

NHS Wales

The Royal National Institute for Blind People

Rightacres Property Company Limited

Barola Property Holdings Limited

Hodge Bank

HSBC

Newport City Homes

Cardiff Parkway Developments Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Cardiff Parkway Developments on the development of a new train station on the outskirts of Cardiff with an associated business park which could potentially employ 5,000 people.
  • Acting for Leom LLP on the redevelopment of the historic Custom House currently under construction in Cardiff City Centre to provide a 20 storey 248 bed Premier Inn and restaurant.
  • Continued portfolio management and new leases/re-gears for long standing client, CanaryWharf Group, owners of the Canary Wharf Estate.

Geldards LLP

In somewhat of a transitional period following a number of recent departures at a senior level, Geldards LLP's 'highly knowledgeable' commercial property team, which is now headed by Susanne Bradley , maintains a strong presence in the market as a result of a a well-planned succession structure and a strong and loyal roster of clients. The team remains perhaps best-known for its public sector work and in this regard Bradley has a particular niche in relation to urban redevelopment work. Mike Jeffs  is one of the more senior members of the team and has vast experience, particularly as it relates to secured lending. Of the more recently promoted partners, Harriet Morgan  has niche expertise in charity property law and Adam Thomas has developed expertise across all aspects of portfolio and estate management.

Practice head(s):

Susanne Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Mike Jeffs; Ioan Owen; Adam Thomas; Harriet Morgan

Testimonials

It is a highly knowledgeable team.

Key clients

Admiral Insurance

Ashtenne Industrial Fund

Cardiff Gate Business Park Limited

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group

Julian Hodge Bank Limited

Richard Hayward Group

Royal Voluntary Service

Torfaen County Borough Council

Welsh Ministers/Welsh Government

Western Power Distribution

Millbay Homes

LDC (Managers) Ltd

Arcadis

Sofa Brands

University of Wales: Trinity Saint David

Work highlights

  • Advising the Welsh Ministers on all aspects of the development of Bro Tathan, a major new business park adjoining the Aston Martin site on part of the former Ministry of Defence land at St Athan.
  • The principal property advisors for Western Power Distribution covering the whole of its portfolio in South Wales and the Midlands.
  • Represent Torfaen County Borough Council in the development of a state of the art sixth form education centre in Cwmbran.

Hugh James

Led by the 'excellentPeter HurnHugh James's commercial property team handles a balanced mix of work within the public (where it is on the NPS panel) and private sector. The scope of the work is broad and runs the gamut from residential development matters, an area of expertise for Hurn, through to work for institutional investors on their property portfolios, as well as mandates in the education sector, including for Cardiff University on a major campus upgrade. Caroline O'Flaherty spearheads the firm's property work in the education sector and also has considerable expertise in relation to social housing-related property matters.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hurn

Other key lawyers:

Caroline O’Flaherty; David King; Daniel Morgan; Shelley Ikram; Gareth Fortey

Testimonials

Peter Hurn is excellent.

Key clients

Walters Group

The International Convention Centre Wales (ICCW)

Cardiff University

S.A. Brain & Company Limited – Brewery Quarter

Coleg Gwent

DCC

BDW Trading Limited (Barratt Homes)

Welsh Rugby Union

Tirion Group

Candleston Homes Limited

Work highlights

  • Continuing to act for the Walters Group, the multi-disciplinary company, on multimillion-pound deals. These include a wide range of acquisitions and disposals and also involving numerous wind farm and solar farm projects across south Wales.
  • Advising International Convention Centre Wales (joint venture between the Welsh Government and The Celtic Manor Resort) on building contracts and infrastructure agreements.
  • Advising the Welsh Rugby Union on a joint venture with Rightacres Properties and Legal & General which will transform two of Cardiff’s most iconic buildings into a luxury hotel.

Berry Smith

Berry Smith's two-partner team is 'friendly and easy to work with' and receives a consistent flow off work from a loyal public and private sector client base that includes local authorities, developers, lenders, housebuilders and investors. The 'personable and approachableChris Jones  has a focus on development work and is praised for his ability to find 'practical solutions to the most tricky of legal transactions'. The 'very professional and thoroughMartin Pursall heads up the firm's secured lending offering and acts for an impressive roster of financial institutions, including Development Bank of Wales, HSBC and Handelsbanken, in their funding of residential and commercial development sites and investment properties.

Practice head(s):

Martin Pursall; Chris Jones

Other key lawyers:

Alice Prendergast; Sian Reynolds

Testimonials

A small but responsive, competent and good value property team that operates across the English and Welsh markets.

The team is friendly and easy to work with.

Chris Jones is personable and approachable – calmly and confidently finding practical solutions to the most tricky of legal transactions.

The very professional and thorough Martin Pursall displays first-class knowledge.

 

Key clients

Development Bank of Wales

Vastint Hospitality

Jehu Group / Waterstone Homes/Waterstone Estates

Principality Commercial (Principality Building Society)

SA1 Waterfront Development Ltd

Carmarthenshire County Council

Bridgend County Borough Council

Fox Group (Moving & Storage)

Actoris Group

JBCH Developments (Jones Brothers (Henllan) Limited)

Peacocks Stores Ltd/Edinburgh Woollen Mill

HSBC

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council

Rombourne Limited

Industrial Property Assets Limited

Shedmead Limited

Portabella Group – (Churchill’s Hotel Development Limited and Arbor Vale Limited)

Hodge Bank

Handelsbanken

Hicks Logistics Ltd

Sapiens (UK) Insurance Software Ltd

New Directions Holdings Limited

Cadwaladers (Ice Cream)

Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

Tenovus Cancer Care

Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

Work highlights

  • Advised Development Bank of Wales on various development sites across South, North and West Wales including the key Goods Shed Development at Barry Waterfront.
  • Advised Vastint Hospitality (under the Moxy Brand) on several significant hotel development sites across the UK.
  • Advised JEHU Group Limited/Waterstone Homes Ltd on the acquisition and development of numerous residential and commercial development sites across Wales and then dealing with the subsequent plot sales.

Capital Law Limited

Praised for its 'refreshingly forward-thinking approach', under the guidance of the 'commercially-mindedLeanne O’BrienCapital Law Limited's real estate  group advises a balanced roster of public and private sector stakeholders, including investors, developers and financiers, primarily on local real estate projects. The team excels in matters which require a multi-disciplinary approach, where it is able to seamlessly integrate expertise from complementary practice areas. Energy and education remain key industry sectors for the team, as demonstrated by its ongoing work with a renewable energy company on the establishment of cutting-edge carbon neutral/zero carbon energy new housing models. Jon Ely is 'clear thinking, rigorous and pragmatic' and has a focus on high-value business space lettings (principally in the London occupier market).

Practice head(s):

Leanne O’Brien

Other key lawyers:

Justin Mason; Jon Ely; Liz Gibbons; Catrin Mackie; Hannah Vosper

Testimonials

Refreshingly forward thinking.

Modern, progressive and commercially minded.

For cost-conscious clients who do not want to compromise on quality, the firm offers a first-class service and has recruited well from various top-tier firms.

Jon Ely is a first-class commercial property lawyer. He is clear thinking, rigorous and pragmatic.

Leanne O’Brien is a fabulous lawyer, who is commercially minded and great with clients.

Key clients

Welsh Government

Ascona Group

Associated British Ports

University of South Wales

Pobl Group

Enterprise Rent a Car

The Royal Mint

Gan Plc

Howard Tenens

Sero Homes/ Sero Energy YesMemoria Limited

Derby University

Work highlights

  • Advised University of South Wales on developing and managing implementation of its estates’ strategy, including the disposal of its former Caerleon Campus to Redrow Homes Plc.
  • Advising Ascona Group on its real estate portfolio and ambitious expansion plans.
  • Working closely with Bridgend College to secure £30m funding for its STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Academy Development. Work included resolving planning, real estate and construction issues to deliver this flagship project.

Le Gros Solicitors Limited

Cardiff-based property boutique Le Gros Solicitors Limited has successfully carved out a niche for itself, primarily for development matters, where it is well-equipped to handle 'virtually all aspects of development work, including complex, high value matters'. Founder and name partner Claudia Le Gros is the lynchpin of the practice and 'has forged the firm in her own image: an expert, engaging, bubbling intellect who always has an eye on the bigger picture'.

Practice head(s):

Claudia Le Gros

Other key lawyers:

Julia Morris; Bethan Sadler

Testimonials

The team is expert across various aspects of commercial property development, and can cover virtually all aspects of development, including complex, high value matters.

The firm is also unique in that the partners and fee earners are virtually entirely female. This gives the firm a refreshingly different outlook and a particularly engaging and facilitative skill set.

Claudia Le Gros has forged the firm in her own image: an expert, engaging, bubbling intellect who always has an eye on the bigger picture. She has guided, nudged and, when necessary, wrestled difficult issues to a successful conclusion for her clients.

Key clients

Garrison Barclay Estates Limited

Seasons Holidays Plc

Infinite Renewables Group Limited

Candleston Limited

Acorn Property Group

Plymouth Estates

Duffryn Estates

Portabella

Principality Building Society

Memrise Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising GBE (Chartist) Limited on funding, development and multiple pre-lettings of a high value multi-use building in Newport city centre.
  • Advising Village Homes LLP on an ongoing large joint-venture residential development in a scenic setting on the outskirts of Cardiff, including a complex title assembly and site set up and a multimillion-pound development funding.
  • Acting for Seasons Holidays Plc on the acquisition of two large holiday let sites which include long term premium interests to third parties.

Morgan LaRoche

Led by Kevin Thomas from the firm's Swansea headquarters, Morgan LaRoche's four-partner team handles local and national work for developers and landowners across a range of commercial property projects. The team continues to be active on UK-wide energy and care sector-related real estate work, with David Palmer  advising AMP Clean Energy in connection with the roll out of its Urban Reserve flexible generation plants. Spearheaded by Alun Price , the firm is also growing its west Wales client base from its relatively new Carmarthen office.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Rosemary Morgan; David Palmer; Alun Price; Claire Thatcher; Carys Wilson

Key clients

Hallmark Care Homes

Enzo’s Homes

AMP Clean Energy

Culina Group

Swansea University

Persimmon Homes

Colosseum Dental

The Penllergare Estate

The Trade Centre Group

Work highlights

  • Advising AMP Clean Energy on the leasehold acquisition of various sites across England and Wales for the construction of gas fired flexible generation gas and battery storage peaking plants.
  • Advising Greencoat Wind Plc/North Hoyle Wind Farm Limited on the surrender of its existing lease and grant of a new lease of the North Hoyle offshore windfarm, which consists of 30 vesta turbines, each with a 2MW capacity, which generate enough electricity for approximately 40,000 homes every year.
  • Advising Charlotte Street Estates Limited & Planetree House Limited in connection with the off-market purchase of two freehold multi let mixed use investment properties in Piccadilly central Manchester.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Co-headed by Clare Gregory and Vicky KellsClarke Willmott LLP's two-partner team continues its upward trajectory in the local market since it opened its Cardiff office in 2014. Kells has a core focus on social housing finance matters and regularly assists housing associations raise secured finance, either through bank loans or via private placement bond issuances. Gregory has a broader property offering, with work encompassing secured lending, property management and development matters.

Practice head(s):

Clare Gregory; Vicky Kells

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Lord

Testimonials

The team gave me complete confidence from the first meeting through to completion, and provides allocation of appropriate resource to meet the clients needs.

Key clients

Secure Trust Bank Plc

Gloucester City Homes Limited

Career Choices Dewis Gyrfa Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Secure Trust Bank on a £9.3m loan facility to facilitate the purchase of part of a former NHS hospital by a property  development company.
  • Advised The Welsh Ministers on a high-profile disposal of land to car manufacturer, Ineos Automotive Limited.
  • Advised Gloucester City Homes Limited on the acquisition of affordable housing properties from Redrow Homes Limited.

Darwin Gray LLP

Darwin Gray LLP's commercial property team has strong relationships with local public and private sector entities and receives a steady pipeline of real estate instructions, including as it relates to complex development projects. Team head Donald Gray has a focus on security issues surrounding mixed use schemes and also has niche expertise on property issues relating to the Welsh mining industry.

Practice head(s):

Donald Gray

Douglas-Jones Mercer

Led by Michael Price Douglas-Jones Mercer's two-partner team has successfully cultivated a strong reputation for landowners, developers, housing associations and lenders, in the local south west Wales market and beyond. The team also has a niche area of expertise in relation to property-related pension transactions for self-invested personal pensions (SIPP) providers.

Practice head(s):

Michael Price

Other key lawyers:

Michael Snowdon; Christopher Seviour

Key clients

Sanlam Life & Pensions UK Limited

Action for Children

Investacc PensionTrustees Limited

Morgan Lloyd Pension Trustees Limited

Odyssey Pensions

Dawn Meats Group

Principality Commercial

Tai Gwalia Cyf.

Work highlights

  • Advised Tai Gwalia Cyf on the acquisition of development site for the Construction of in excess of 100 houses.

JCP Solicitors

Based out of Swansea and with an increasingly pervasive presence across west Wales, by virtue of the firm's merger with Glamorgan Law in 2017, JCP Solicitors handles a significant flow of primarily domestic mandates for developers, landlords and lenders. 'Approachable and highly efficient' Swansea-based team head Mark Gilroy  has excellent ties with local property professionals, ensuring that he receives a varied roster of work, including as it relates to development and financing.

Practice head(s):

Mark Gilroy

Testimonials

Mark Gilroy is approachable, readily contactable and highly efficient.

RDP Law

Despite its recent growth into other business areas of law, Newport-based firm RDP Law continues to generate a significant proportion of its revenue off the back of its 'responsive and professional' ten-strong commercial property team. Praised for his 'outstanding work ethic', team head James Davies  is pivotal to the firm's 'very strong' developer practice and is seen as a go-to practitioner in relation to complex land schemes throughout east Wales. Davies also picks up a significant amount of property work on behalf of the firm's roster of farming clients.

Practice head(s):

James Davies

Testimonials

The responsive and professional team provides accurate and practical advice.

Every time we have worked with them they make sure they fully understand what is important to us and ensure that everyone is focused on the big picture.

James Davies has been excellent, especially in relation to development land related matters. He is always responsive and communicative, with superb attention to detail and practical legal advice to reassure clients and fellow professionals.

The impressive James Davies’ work ethic is outstanding and the preparation he puts in means that he is always better prepared than the other side. In meetings he has a great manner about him and is able to win contentious arguments whilst still maintaining a good relationship.

Howells Solicitors

Although Howells Solicitors is perhaps best-known for its residential conveyancing offering, under the leadership of the 'helpful and knowledgeableRhidian Hobbs, it also handles a steady flow of south Wales-based commercial property work - including as it relates to development matters, landlord and tenant issues, investor work and property-related pensions mandates.

Practice head(s):

Rhidian Hobbs

Testimonials

A very friendly and down-to-earth approach with practical advice.

Rhidian Hobbs is very helpful and knowledgeable.