Commercial property in Wales

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Headed by Kathryn CookEversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's team has the strength-in-depth and resources to be able to effectively deliver a range of services across the property spectrum for a varied client base that includes investors, developers and occupiers. As well as being the relationship partner for Annington, one of the largest owners of residential property in the UK, the 'commercially astuteGeraint Pullin Thomas also regularly provides the real estate input associated with the firm's market-leading renewable energy practice. Transport is another core industry sector focus for the real estate team, an area that the 'superbHelen Thomas continues to be active, alongside her broader responsibilities as European managing partner with responsibility for the firm's offices in France, Germany, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. In addition to its competence and specialisms across industry sectors, the team also has partner-level specialisations relating to different real estate stakeholders. Key among these are David Emberson's investor-focused work for key institutional clients, including SEGRO, and Kevin Booth's developer practice in relation to both private and public sector transactions. Other recommended practitioners include James Trafford, who handles the real estate needs of numerous UK and global corporates, including those in the energy and infrastructure sector; the 'accessible, flexible and commercialGareth Ashfield, who handles the commercial property requirements of many major corporates (including in relation to HQs and logistics); and 'very bright, dedicated and diligent' senior associate Jonathan Woodward, whose varied workload includes work related to acquisitions, disposals and leases.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Roberts

Other key lawyers:

James Trafford; Elizabeth Fevyer; David Watkins; Kevin Booth; Helen Thomas; Geraint Pullin Thomas; David Emberson; Andrew Burns; Gareth Ashfield; Nicola Louise Smith; Jonathan Woodward

Testimonials

‘The real estate team based in Cardiff are legal services market leaders, delivering a range of services across the property spectrum. Advice provided is always succinct and understandable and delivered in a way which enables the client to make good, reasoned decisions.’

‘High level of attention to detail and working to tight deadlines without losing focus or quality of advice.’

‘Geraint Pullin Thomas is commercially astute.’

Helen Thomas is superb.’

‘Gareth Ashfield is always willing to understand and listen to our requirements and adapt to meet those needs.’

Jonathan Woodward is very bright, dedicated and diligent.’

Key clients

Transport for London

National Grid

SEGRO Plc

British Gas/Centrica

Annington Limited

CBRE Global Investors

Persimmon Homes

GSK

EDF Energy

RWE

Acuity Law

A cornerstone practice of the firm that continues to generate substantial revenue, Acuity Law‘s ‘very approachable‘ commercial property team has a ‘comprehensive knowledge of land and property issues that transcend purely legal matters‘. The firm’s deeply entrenched relationship with Rightacres continues to inform a considerable volume of work handled by the team, unsurprisingly, given the developer’s involvement in many key major regeneration and development projects throughout the capital. This work (which includes such notable projects as the mixed-use development at the Interchange Building on Central Square and the redevelopment of the Brains site at Central Quay) showcases the firm’s comprehensive and collaborative approach, involving planning issues, land development, complex financing structures and lettings/sales work. Gareth Baker has been central to a good deal of this work, as has Damien Cann, particularly in light of his expertise on innovative funding options. Steve Morris is a ‘star‘ whose workload extends beyond the boundaries of Wales, including instructions on a significant mixed housing scheme in London. Jonathan Geen co-heads the team alongside Morris and Baker and has a great deal of experience in the market.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Geen; Steve Morris; Gareth Baker

Other key lawyers:

Damien Cann; Jim Ryan; Ben Honour; Robert Senior; Mark Summers

Testimonials

‘The commercial property team is very approachable and interested in our business. They are willing to work outside of normal hours and have always met our deadlines.’

‘Steve Morris is a star. He engages strongly with the business and has the feel of a senior employee of our company. He has strong general knowledge and is always able to recommend a person if he cannot help personally.’

Key clients

Wrexham Council

PMG Limited

Rightacres Property Co Limited

Incrementum Housing Development Company

Limited/Warrington Borough Council

Principality Building Society

Bluestone Resorts Limited

University of Wales, Trinity Saint David

Work highlights

  • Advising Rightacres on the letting of 120,000 square foot of office space at the Transport Interchange building currently being developed on the eastern side of Central Square as the head office of Legal & General.
  • Negotiating and completing the documentation for the establishment of an NHS field hospital within the Bluestone resort in West Wales.
  • Advising University of Wales, Trinity Saint David on the sale of land at The University Playing Fields, Pontfaen, Lampeter to Aldi Stores Limited conditional on planning permission for joint development of supermarket (Aldi Stores Limited) and improvements to sports pitch, historic pavilion and construction of food village (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David).

Blake Morgan LLP

With a core group of five real estate partners based out of Cardiff and also closely integrated with the firm’s construction and banking teams, as well as uniquely having access to several in-house surveyors, Blake Morgan LLP is able to provide a ‘commercially-minded and expedient professional service‘ to a range of private and public stakeholders across the full life-cycle of their projects and developments. ‘Personable and responsive’ team head James Egan has an excellent local profile and exemplifies the firm’s varied workflow, being involved as he is on a number of major development matters, joint ventures and property transactions for both public and private sector clients. ‘Very knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile‘, Geoff Reed has an excellent track record in relation to major development projects, while Nigel Griffiths continues to handle a significant volume of London-based retail leasing work as a result of his longstanding and ongoing relationship with Canary Wharf Group.

Practice head(s):

James Egan

Other key lawyers:

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

Testimonials

‘The exceptional team provides commercially minded and expedient advice.’  

James Egan is personable and responsive.’

Philip Jardine provides strong support when required.’

‘Dawn Smith is friendly, thorough and knowledgeable.’

‘Geoff Reed is very knowledgeable and will go that extra mile.’

‘Gareth Howlett provided good commercial advice on some important acquisitions.’

Key clients

Canary Wharf Group Plc

Welsh Government

Cardiff Parkway Developments Limited

Cardiff University

NHS Wales

The Royal National Institute for Blind People

Rightacres Property Company Limited

Transport for Wales

Newport City Homes

HSBC

Linc Cymru Housing Association

Work highlights

  • Advising Cardiff Parkway Developments on the development of a new £120m train station on the outskirts of Cardiff with an associated business park which could potentially employ 5,000 people.
  • Acting for Newport City Homes on the acquisition of Olympia House the landmark former passport office in Newport city centre.
  • Continued portfolio management and new leases/re-gears for longstanding client, Canary Wharf Group, owners of the Canary Wharf Estate.

Geldards LLP

Led by Susanne Bradley , the 'professional and personable' team at Geldards LLP provides 'efficient and timely' advice to a balanced roster of stakeholders, including developers, investors and end-users. Strong and established ties with public and third sector clients continue to generate a significant volume of business, including Bradley's recent work for Torfaen County Borough Council on the development and delivery of a multimillion-pound sixth form college in Cwmbran. As well as his broader lease and development expertise, Mike Jeffs provides 'reliable and efficient' advice to both borrowers and banks on secured lending matters. Appreciated for his 'calmness and attention to detail', Ioan Owen has a thriving landlord and tenant practice in the office and retail sector.  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:

Ioan Owen; Adam Thomas; Mike Jeffs; Harriet Morgan

Testimonials

‘The team is professional and personable.’

‘I have instructed Geldards for many years and are always my first choice being always accessible and available to me. They care about us and always want do their best for us.’

‘Mike Jeffs provides reliable and efficient advice.’  

‘Ioan Owen made a very stressful situation easier with his calm approach and sense of humour and helped me build my knowledge on the subject.’

‘Ioan Owen is a truly excellent lawyer with a great eye for detail. He is very personable, helpful, knows his clients and finds out what is important to us and proactively gets transactions done on that basis.’

Key clients

Admiral Insurance

Ashtenne Industrial Fund

Cardiff Gate Business Park Limited

Development Bank of Wales

Julian Hodge Bank Limited

Richard Hayward Group

Royal Voluntary Service

Torfaen County Borough Council

Welsh Ministers/Welsh Government

Western Power Distribution

Leekes Limited

LDC (Managers) Ltd

Arcadis

Sofa Brands

University of Wales: Trinity Saint David

ADRA (Tai) Cyfyngedig

Rutherford Health plc

Council of the City and County of Swansea

Cardigan Building Preservation Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Torfaen County Borough Council on the development and delivery of a multimillion-pound sixth form college in Cwmbran.
  • Advised Celsa in relation to the first corporate Covid relief scheme loan completed in the UK in 2020.
  • Advised Keolis (UK) Limited on the high-profile lease acquisition of office space in Cardiff City Centre.

Hugh James

The 'responsive and pragmatic' team at Hugh James provides 'efficient and effective' advice to a balanced mix of stakeholders engaged in real estate projects throughout Wales, the South West of England and beyond. Public and third sector work continues to inform a significant volume of deal flow handled by the team, which was further reinforced by the firm's successful reappointment to the NPS property lot. Caroline O'Flaherty is responsible for a significant amount of this work, particularly in light of her excellent social housing credentials (which have recently included innovative work relating to zero carbon homes), and her expertise within the education sector. The 'very experienced and accomplishedPeter Hurn heads the overarching team and has a particularly strong track record advising on residential development work, by dint of his strong and established ties with numerous national housebuilders/developers.

Practice head(s):

Peter Hurn

Other key lawyers:

Caroline O’Flaherty; David King; Daniel Morgan; Kelly Davies; Shelley Ikram; Rachel Arentsen; Gareth Fortey

Testimonials

‘The responsive and pragmatic team provides efficient and effective advice.’ 

Peter Hurn is very experienced and accomplished.’

‘The pragmatic Caroline O’Flaherty is excellent.’

‘Rachel Arentsen is a pleasure to work with, experienced, succinct, professional and thoughtful.’

Key clients

Tirion Group

WRU

Pobl/Coastal

Coleg Gwent

Bellway

Linc-Cymru Housing Association

BDW Trading Limited (Barratt Homes)

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Brackley Investments Limited

ICCW

Work highlights

  • 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.
  • Advising on an acquisition of a site in Gwynfaen (a JV between Welsh Government and Swansea Council) delivering zero carbon homes on a large scale, attracting innovative funding and is exemplar collaborative project between two of the largest RSLs in Wales working with Welsh Government and the Council to unlock public sector land.
  • Advising International Convention Centre Wales (joint venture between the Welsh Government and The Celtic Manor Resort) on building contracts and infrastructure agreements.

Berry Smith

Benefitting from 'a very experienced and settled team', Berry Smith is appreciated by lenders, developers and public sector oganisations for its 'professional and personal service' across the spectrum of their commercial property needs. The 'excellent' Martin Pursall has strong ties with numerous domestic funders, including Principality Commercial and Development Bank of Wales, and heads up the firm's secured lending team. The 'personable and professionalChris Jones co-heads the overarching commercial property group alongside Pursall and has an excellent reputation for advising on commercial/residential development matters, as well as landlord and tennant work, principally for retail and leisure occupiers.

Practice head(s):

Martin Pursall; Chris Jones

Other key lawyers:

Roger Berry; Alice Prendergast; Mathew Clapham; Kelly Cassemis

Testimonials

‘I have found the team to be available and helpful. In a world full of emails I can always reach the team by telephone to discuss issues, which is really useful.’

‘Berry Smith Solicitors has a very experienced and settled team.’

‘Strong relationship ethic, the property team has been known to us for many years, thus is familiar with the way we operate and the provide a professional and personal service.’

‘Alice Prendergast is very competent, thorough and efficient.’

Martin Pursall is very experienced, helpful and approachable. He is always willing to work hard to achieve the outcomes I am seeking.

‘Mathew Clapham and Chris Jones always give first-class service with a professional and personable approach.’

Key clients

Principality Commercial (Principality Building Society)

Development Bank of Wales

Carmarthenshire County Council

Vastint Hospitality

Bridgend County Borough Council

Jehu Group / Waterstone Homes/Waterstone Estates

Fox Group (Moving & Storage)

Actoris Group

HSBC Bank

FirstRand Bank Limited (T/A MotoNovo Finance)

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council

Rombourne Limited

Industrial Property Assets Limited

Shedmead Limited

Arbenigol Limited

Tenovus Cancer Care

Cadwaladers (Ice Cream)

Welsh Government

HEFCW (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales)

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Denbighshire County Council

Handelsbanken

Biological Preparations Limited

St Brides Investments Limited

South Monmouthshire Estates Limited

Portabella

Short Bros Developers Limited

Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

New Directions Holdings Limited

CAD Properties

R S Bird Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Principality Commercial on the funding of Portabella’s mixed use development scheme (34 houses and apartments plus 9 retail units) at the Laundry Quarter, Pontcanna Cardiff.
  • Acted for Biological Preparations Ltd as tenant in the acquisition of leases of two large Industrial Units at Pantglas Industrial Estate, Caerphilly.
  • Advised Jehu Group (including Waterstone Homes) in multiple acquisitions of residential development sites across Wales including many which involved package deals with housing associations.

Capital Law Limited

Capital Law Limited punches above its weight, by virtue of its 'entrepreneurial approach' and the 'commercially astute' advice it is able to provide for a balanced mix of stakeholders, which seamlessly integrates expertise from complementary practice areas, should the need arise. Team head Leanne O’Brien epitomises this approach (including as it relates to some novel energy efficient housing projects) and as well as effectively utilising internal resources at the firm, is also very adept at providing a 'value added service' to clients, by virtue of her excellent ties with external property professionals, including planning consultants and innovative funding specialists. Although historically the firm is better-known for private sector-related work, its recent appointment to the NPS commercial property lot is expected to elicit a significant amount of public sector instructions going forward. An 'all-round gifted lawyer', Jon Ely is an 'innovative problem solver', who is particularly appreciated for his expertise at handling high-value business space lettings.

Practice head(s):

Leanne O’Brien

Other key lawyers:

Jon Ely; Hannah Vosper; Catrin Mackie

Testimonials

‘Capital Law is a jewel of a law firm. They are commercially astute lawyers. Their lawyers also have great personality – accessible, friendly, personable and not stuffy.’

‘The strategic Jon Ely shows incredible attention to detail. A real thinker and innovative problem solver. An all-round highly gifted lawyer.’

Key clients

Welsh Government

Associated British Ports

University of South Wales

Pobl Group

Enterprise Rent A Car

The Royal Mint

Ascona Group

Howard Tenens

Sero Homes/Sero Energy

Development Bank of Wales/Self Build Wales

Work highlights

  • Advised Ascona Group on its acquisition of 34 sites in under a year.
  • Advising Development Bank of Wales on an innovative £40m scheme, that aims to diversify the housing market by making self and custom build more achievable.
  • Advised POBL (the largest Housing Association in Wales) on a multimillion-pound acquisition of a residential development site that forms a key part of its overall development strategy.

Morgan LaRoche

Led from its Swansea headquarters by Kevin Thomas and also benefiting from a growing presence out of Carmarthen, Morgan LaRoche has excellent credentials for a developer-focused client base across south and west Wales, as well as on some England-based matters. A significant and growing amount of this work relates to renewable energy projects, with both David Palmer and Alun Price appreciated for their 'second-to-none industry knowledge and willingness to think outside of the box'. Rosemary Morgan remains a key member of the team and benefits from vast knowledge of real estate transactions within the education and health sectors, in particular.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Rosemary Morgan; David Palmer; Alun Price; Carys Wilson

Testimonials

The firm’s advice is considered gospel throughout the organisation up to and including board level, a level of trust that can only be achieved through delivering excellent services time and time again over many years and many jobs.’

The availability and engagement of partners and associates is second-to-none and their ability to make deals happens goes far beyond a basic legal service.’

‘David Palmer, Alun Price and Carys Wilson go above and beyond to ensure that our projects proceed with speed and accuracy.’

Their availability and understanding of our business and our industry is second to none, and in particularly value their willingness to problem solve and think outside of the box.’

Key clients

Hallmark Care Homes

Enzo’s Homes

AMP Clean Energy

Culina Group

Persimmon Homes

Colosseum Dental

The Penllergare Estate

The Trade Centre Group

Swansea University

Student Urban Living

Work highlights

  • Representing a national logistics company on the property aspects of a £98m share capital acquisition of another major logistics company whose assets included a portfolio of properties comprising distribution centres, warehouses and offices.
  • Acting for a developer in the site assembly, planning agreements and forward funding requirements for a student accommodation scheme in south London with a value in excess of £65m.
  • Advising a renewable energy company on the freehold and leasehold acquisition of various sites across England and Wales for the construction of its “Urban Reserve” gas fired flexible generation gas and battery storage peaking plants.

Clarke Willmott LLP

Appreciated for its 'very accessible and can-do attitude', Clarke Willmott LLP has a narrower focus than many in the ranking, however, its expertise at social housing finance, for both housing associations and banks is market leading. 'Knowledgeable and thorough' team head Vicky Kells is pivotal to this and has extensive knowledge on the property security aspects of bank loan facilities, private placements and securitisations. Clare Gregory is also a key member of the team and as well as advising on social housing-related property issues, including site acquisitions, has also been fundamental to broadening the scope of the work to include commercial property work for public and private sector clients.

Practice head(s):

Vicky Kells

Other key lawyers:

Fraser MacRae; Bethan Evans; Clare Gregory; Charlotte Lord

Testimonials

‘The team has a very acccessible and can-do attitude.’

Vicky Kells is knowledgeable and thorough.’ 

Key clients

Cardiff Community Housing Association Limited

RHA Wales Group Limited

United Welsh Housing Association Limited

Cadwyn Housing Association Limited

Wales & West Housing Association Limited

Orbit

London & Quadrant

Triodos Bank UK Limited

Principality Building Society

Handelsbanken

Work highlights

  • Continue to advise RHA (formerly Rhondda Housing Association) including advising it on a £9m bank loan facility, a £30m private placement, GDPR, pro forma management agreement, property development acquisitions and void disposals.
  • Advised CCHA on its £37m bLEND loan and putting in place all property security within a tight timescale.
  • Acting for Abbeyfield in relation to the sale of some of its nursing home businesses/assets and advising on its merger with another Housing Association partner.

Douglas-Jones Mercer

The 'efficient, professional and dependable' team at Douglas-Jones Mercer provides a 'gold standard' level of service to an eclectic mix of stakeholders across their local and national property needs, including a niche specialism in pensions-related property matters. Team head Michael Price and Michael Snowdon have considerable experience and are both appreciated for their 'sensible and pragmatic approach' for developers and investors.

Practice head(s):

Michael Price

Other key lawyers:

Michael Snowdon; Christopher Seviour; Claire Thatcher

Testimonials

‘The firm provides an excellent service and provides good sound advice.’

‘Excellent commercial property team. Commercial advice on issues and recommendations to resolve given not just legal hurdles to be overcome. ’

‘The level of service can only be described as gold standard. Efficient, professional and dependable.’

‘Michael Price and Michael Snowdon provide sensible and pragmatic advice.’

Key clients

Sanlam Life & Pensions UK Limited

Action for Clhildren

Investacc Pension Trustees Limited

Morgan Lloyd Pension Trustees Limited

Odyssey Pensions

Dawn Meats Group

Principality Commercial

Tai Gwalia Cyf.

Harding Evans LLP

Led by the 'professional, courteous and responsiveMike JenkinsHarding Evans LLP provides 'proactive and solution-oriented' advice to developers, banks, agricultural landowners and charities across a range of commercial property matters, both locally and nationally.

Practice head(s):

Mike Jenkins

Other key lawyers:

James Young

Testimonials

‘The team is very thorough and extremely accommodating.’

I find the firm to be proactive and they look to provide solutions and resolution to any issues with cases.’

‘Mike Jenkins is professional, courteous and responsive.’

Key clients

Cerebral Palsy Cymru

Work highlights

  • Advised Cerebral Palsy Cymru in the purchase of a new premises to allow charity to support more families and young children.

Le Gros Solicitors Limited

Led by name partner Claudia Le Gros, all female Cardiff-based property boutique Le Gros Solicitors Limited has a particularly strong reputation in the market in relation to development matters.

Practice head(s):

Claudia Le Gros

Lewis Silkin LLP

Led by Emily Meredith Hardy, Lewis Silkin LLP‘s team is appreciated for the ‘solid, timely and diligent service‘ it is able to provide, either on its own or in conjunction with lawyers based out of the firm’s more well established London headquarters. Meredith Hardy is particularly active in relation to landlord and tenant work, including advising corporate occupiers on head office moves. ‘Outstanding managing associate Tom Merrick is also a key member of the team and is noted for his ‘exceptionally helpful and considerate‘ service on behalf of corporate occupiers.

Practice head(s):

Emily Meredith Hardy

Other key lawyers:

Tom Merrick; Sarah Mogford; Aimee Dring

Testimonials

‘Very personable and helpful – willing to work to short timeframes.’

‘Very capable and adept at handling the challenges of dealing with other parties who are far less organised than they are.’

‘The real estate department has a strong culture with very experienced and capable individuals across the team. ’

‘The team provides a solid, timely and diligent service. They have a very commercial approach and their advice is clear and sensible.’

‘Tom Merrick has always been exceptionally helpful, considerate, and has gone above and beyond countless times to help deliver the outcomes needed for us as a client. His patience with other firms acting for landlords has shown through and he is able to handle the complexity of transactions with ease.’

‘Aimee Dring has been outstanding in dealing with a complex property matter. She is sensible, approachable and her expertise is excellent.’

Key clients

Vevo UK Limited

Navana Asset Management Limited

Gainsbury and Whiting Limited / Samantha Gainsbury

Sager Group

The Storytellers Limited

Bravura Solutions (UK) Limited

Compurants Limited

Wirewax Limited

Publicis Group

DAT Property Limited

Howden Joinery Group Plc

Arrival Limited

Wildstone Limited

Four Communications Group Limited

Harbour Group

WFS Investments Limited

Regalpress Limited

Wheely London Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Arrival Limited on the acquisition of a number of separate leasehold interests, to enable Arrival to occupy an entire building, with a rental value of circa £60m over 15 years.
  • Advising Wildstone on the acquisition of a number of “paper and paste” advertising portfolios for conversion to digital and a services deal agreement with Clear Channel.
  • Advising Four Communications Group on the surrender of its existing leases and its head office move to The Hickman, London on various ten year leases, with an annual rent of circa £1m per annum.

RDP Law

Headed by the 'exceptionalJames Davies RDP Law's 'excellent' Newport-based seven-strong team has a particularly strong reputation advising developers on real estate work throughout the east of the country. The firm's close ties with many agricultural clients also regularly elicit a range of farming-related property work.

Practice head(s):

James Davies

Other key lawyers:

Sam Collins

Testimonials

‘The team is excellent. Very proactive, detailed and available whenever required.’

‘The firm has a thorough and practical understanding of real estate and agricultural matters, with a very hands on personal service.’

‘James Davies’ ability of structuring deals whilst fully considering all legal and practical matters relating to a scheme is exceptional. With a comprehensive working knowledge of agricultural, development and real estate applications, what you get is a first-class one-stop-shop.’