Our work for investor clients is at the heart of our real estate group.
Our real estate group has the broadest and strongest investor client base of any UK firm. Our client list includes major institutions, FTSE 100 companies, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, private equity investors, banks and ultra high net worth individuals.
We are committed to all aspects of real estate and we will service all the requirements of our real estate investor clients. Our work spans straightforward sales, purchases, leasing and management to the most complex fund structuring and lending. The development of real estate as an asset class in its own right has played to the real estate group’s strengths. As work has become increasingly complex, we have grown our ability to provide specialist advice on tax, funds structures, planning, environment, construction and financing. Our real estate lawyers understand and lead the provision of any such specialist advice.
Our client base, and our ability to service the most complex deals, means we are involved in the most prestigious deals in the market.
We are constantly looking to develop new products for our clients, whether it be innovative tax solutions or streamlined reporting for major portfolio purchases. We are also actively involved in all of the major industry bodies and have representatives on many of their committees - British Property Federation (BPF), British Council for Shopping Centres (BCSC), Investment Property Forum (IPF), and Association of Real Estate Funds (AREF).
Our strong core of investor clients has also led us to invest heavily in IT to support the management of real estate portfolios. We regularly set up and maintain extranets to hold electronic copies of our clients' deeds and to facilitate disposals, valuations and rent reviews.
In early 2015 we advised on over £1.1bn worth of student accommodation deals. We acted for the owners in the sale of Nido London S.à r.l.’s luxury student housing portfolio to Greystar Real Estate Partners for £600m. We also advised on the sale of Pure Student Living, London's premier, purpose-built accommodation business, to LetterOne Treasury Services for £532m.
We advised the sellers on the sale of 22 Bishopsgate, London EC2 to an international consortium of investors represented by AXA Real Estate Investment Managers. Their intention is to develop a new landmark tower. The proposed 60 storey design will provide over 1 million sq ft of Grade A offices, retail and restaurant and bar space, in addition to a public viewing gallery at the top of the building.
We represented UOL in their first foray into the London real estate market. UOL, a substantial Singaporean property company, acquired the Heron Plaza for £97m. The 3,200 sq m prime freehold site has planning permission to be developed into a 43-storey tower with an estimated total gross floor area of 52,255 sq m comprising 109 residential units, a 190-room hotel, and a retail component.
Our team advised Hinduja Group, in partnership with OHLD, on its successful acquisition of the iconic building, The Old War Office, 57 Whitehall for £350m. The transaction was executed within 5 working days, and this landmark building will now be restored and redeveloped into a five star hotel and high end residential apartments. Previously inaccessible to the public, a commitment has also been made to grant new access to the building.
India’s largest real estate developer, Lodha Group, acquired the Canadian High Commission at One Grosvenor Square, for £306m, for residential development in August 2014. We represented Lodha in this transaction, their first investment into the London market, in which they successfully secured the property against stiff competition from a number of high-profile bidders.
We advised Rockspring on the disposal of seven shopping centres. The transaction involved the sale of the interests in various spvs to an Ellandi and Lonestar joint venture. The 1.3m sq ft "Tiger" real estate portfolio generated a net annual income of over £18.7m from circa 500 separate tenants with a purchase price of £265m.
In one of the biggest single-property sales of 2015, The Walbrook Building, situated opposite Cannon Street Station, was acquired by Taiwan's Cathay Life Insurance Co. for £575m. We advised Cathay Life on the acquisition of the corporate structure owning the property from Delancey and Ares Management’s Minerva. This is the second major UK acquisition for Cathay Life, following their purchase of the Woolgate Exchange building in 2014 for £311m, which we also advised on.