BLP advises Oxford Properties and UBS South East Recovery Partnership on landmark Nomura Watermark Place deal

Berwin Leighton Paisner (“BLP”) advised Oxford Properties (“Oxford”) and UBS South East Recovery Partnership (“UBS SERF”), in the recent deal to locate Japanese investment bank Nomura at Watermark Place, EC4. The transaction is thought to be the largest ever non pre-let office leasing deal in the UK. The BLP team advised on a wide range of issues, including real estate, tax and construction.

The 540,000 sq ft building is owned by Oxford, the property arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and a sophisticated worldwide real estate player, under a long lease from UBS SERF, and was completed on 31 July 2009. Up to 4,000 Nomura staff are expected to move to the 12 storey building early next year.

BLP Real Estate partner Richard Hopkinson-Woolley led a firmwide team that included fellow partners Alan Wight (Real Estate), Neville Wright (Tax), Michael Wistow (Tax) and Roger Cohen (Real Estate Disputes) and senior associate Ayesha Hasan (Real Estate). Commenting on the transaction, Richard said: “It is great to be involved in this deal on behalf of Oxford and UBS, especially having acted on the original acquisition of the old Mondial House for UBS back in 2004 and seeing this landmark development take shape just down the river from us. The complexity of the deal meant that team was working under pressure to deliver against the tight timescales. The transaction will allow Oxford to concentrate on extending its portfolio in the London market and we are delighted to have played a part in assisting them with this objective. For BLP, it helps confirm our position as one of the UK’s premier real estate teams and the wide range of legal expertise that we are able to bring together to support clients involved in large, complex transactions like this one.”

Allen and Overy acted for Nomura and Olswang acted for UBS where they needed independent advice.

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