The international real estate market continues to evolve and does so against a backdrop of continued economic uncertainty and a lack of available debt. This evolution has brought with it a focus on alternative sources of funding and an increase in joint venture initiatives and cross border transactions. Whilst often complex and challenging however, the international market also presents opportunities for development and commercial success and our unparalleled expertise in the sector allows us to guide and support clients in achieving their objectives.
Our market-leading real estate practice combines key sector knowledge, unparalleled technical ability and a commercial focus, which ensures clients receive the best possible support and guidance. We are consistently ranked number one by the legal directories across all of real estate disciplines and our lawyers are recognised as experts in their fields.
Our international capabilities mean that we are well-placed to advise clients from a number of jurisdictions. With over 60 partners and 300 lawyers, our dedicated real estate team has the resources and expertise to meet the requirements of our international client base.
Much of the complex work we carry out requires a multi-disciplinary approach and we regularly work closely, with specialisms across the firm in our corporate, finance, tax and risk management functions. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of all issues relating to planning, construction and engineering, direct and indirect investment, funds, real estate & property finance, tax, development, securitisation, dispute resolution, environment and regulatory. In addition we are also recognised and highly regarded for our achievements in many market sectors including leisure, hotels, student accommodation, public sector and retail.
Advising on the Wangfujing Project, HongKong Land’s retail-led development that will provide 50,000 sq m of luxury retail space and a hotel in the Dongcheng District. We have advised on the investment structuring, negotiating with the PRC government, drafting and negotiating all investment agreements, JV contracts, projects and financing documentation, and leasing documentation.
We acted for landlord Tindall on a case against Hilton Hotels in regards to a portfolio of ten hotel leases, including the lease for the London Kensington Hilton. The case was initially taken to the High Court, where the judge ruled in favour of our client, finding that Hilton breached the terms of the leases having changed the tenant without prior consent. The case was then referred to the Court of Appeal, where the decision was upheld.
The transformational residential project at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London is being delivered by Balfour Beatty through a 50:50 joint venture with Places for People. We advised the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC). It will create two new neighbourhoods, to be called East Wick and Sweetwater with up to 1500 homes, of which 500 will be private rented sector.
Advised Dubai Properties Group on a number of mandates, most recently on the project documentation and issues concerning three major developments in Dubai: the Maram Residence, the Dubai Wharf and the Manazel Al Khor Projects.
Advised JV partners’ Capital & Regional plc and Ares European Real Estate Fund III LP on the sale of a portfolio of 23 commercial real estate properties in Germany for EUR350m to a consortium of investors led by Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP.
The mixed-use development of the Shell Centre site on London’s South Bank for Canary Wharf and Qatari Diar is one of the largest developments in London. It will comprise up to 798 homes, 76,000 m sq. of office floor space including a new headquarters building for Shell, up to 6,000 m sq. of retail floor space and up to 2,500 m sq. of community leisure space as well as associated basement, plant and infrastructure. We have advised the Canary Wharf and Qatari Diar joint venture on the planning, forward funding agreements and provided strategic construction procurement advice including developing template professional appointments and trade contracts for multiple phases of development.
We secured the development consent for the Thames Tideway Tunnel, one of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects and BLP advised Thames Water on the project. It was the first waste water project to be submitted under the Planning Act 2008 and the largest Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) to be examined under the regime. Two remaining judicial reviews challenging the grant of development consent for the Thames Tideway Tunnel ‘super sewer’ project were dismissed by the Court of Appeal. BLP also advised on, and assisted with implementation of, the strategy for acquiring the numerous land interests needed for the project (including by way of compulsory purchase) and helped to negotiate agreements with many third parties whose interests will be affected by the project. This included advising on the arrangements for the grant of land interests and transfer of agreements to Bazalgette Tunnel Limited.
Advised on the sale of Nido London S.à r.l.’s luxury student housing portfolio to Greystar Real Estate Partners for £600m in which we acted for the owners. The Nido portfolio comprises three student housing assets in London’s King’s Cross, Notting Hill and Spitalfields with a total of 2,375 beds, containing a mixture of cluster flats and large studio apartments. This follows the recent £532m sale of Pure Student Living to LetterOne Treasury Services, in which we also acted for sellers The Carlyle Group.
The £575m acquisition of the corporate structure owning The Walbrook Building from Delancey and Ares Management’s Minerva acting for Taiwan’s Cathay Life Insurance Co. This is the second major UK acquisition for Cathay Life, following their purchase of the Woolgate Exchange building last year, which we also advised on.