Estates gazette deals


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Savills has retained its title as The Times Graduate Employer of Choice for Property for the twelfth consecutive year. Savills spends more than a decade at the top of Superbrands Real Estate list. Savills retains its place at the top of the real estate agents category for the ninth consecutive year. Savills retains number one ranking in real estate category for 8th consecutive year. Savills was triumphant at the annual Estates Gazette Awards , taking home the trophy for Industrial Adviser of the Year. Savills won gold at the Mayor of London's Business Energy Challenge Awards for its contribution towards reducing carbon emissions.

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EG magazine - the UK's number one magazine for the real estate week

View all awards. In August, British construction contractors suffered the biggest fall in new orders since March when the UK was in recession following the financial crash. Commercial property construction in particular has contracted since April, with fewer new orders for shops and offices.

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So we have had a very strong upward growth for a prolonged period of time and many people have been expecting the market to turn. There has been a raft of company voluntary agreements in the sector. Despite reports that some London legal outfits may be reducing their real estate headcount, none of the firms spoken to by the Gazette say they have done so or are about to. Instead, some have continued to hire and all are adapting business models to follow the money wherever and however their clients invest. The government needs the development industry to continue to build, and they are not letting us do that.

They are not in thrall to the vagaries of the pound because of their focus on buying and selling UK assets. But this has yet to materialise. For example, he points to Europe, where the firm recently bolstered its real estate armoury, including in Milan and Paris, with lateral partner and team hires. Headcount has increased in the past year. These changes reflect an increasing industry trend towards multi-jurisdictional transactions.

There are several areas where commercial property lawyers can assist. Since green leases lead to lower utility bills, in the long run they tend to benefit tenants most directly. Lawyers are not just following clients around the globe, but also adapting their practices in other ways. We recently launched a new debt advisory business, headed by partner Omega Poole, which focuses on debt sourcing. Still more factors not related to Brexit are adding to the uncertainty of investing in commercial real estate in the UK.

Since April this year, gains on the disposal of any UK property commercial or residential by non-resident individuals, companies and trusts, are taxable either through capital gains tax or corporation tax. That is in addition to a raft of other changes to property tax progressively introduced since for example, the annual tax on enveloped dwellings, or ATED; and reforms to stamp duty land tax SDLT. They also do away with the ongoing costs of managing businesses — there is no need for all those flights to the Caribbean.

The other side of the coin is that investors in UK real estate now need more tax advice than ever before. That also means that real estate practices are a one-stop shop, offering a range of legal services. Ashurst has more than 20 transactional real estate partners in London, spanning a spectrum of expertise including finance, construction, planning, environmental and tax law.


The property industry, in common with other sectors, has found its conduct under ever-closer scrutiny. Commercial law firms are prominent among those attending, some traditionally renting high-end yachts for entertainment. The style of events around the conference is, organisers say, changing in response to such criticism. What about the carbon footprint? Some lawyers have been urging more delegates to take the train — or even to cycle — rather than fly in. City firms increasingly rely on their regional centres to handle real estate work more efficiently and cost-effectively for clients, albeit with different approaches.

This handles high-volume and document-intensive legal work and now spans nine hubs around the globe.

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Launched in Belfast in with a team of 19 fee-earners, the office now has over Real estate was the first practice to establish in Belfast, where there is now a dedicated team of 12 lawyers. There are always parts of the job which lend themselves to being done by a lower-cost operation base and we will try and use our business over there as much as we can. It includes but is not limited to data centres, smart buildings and cities, and shopping centres. The practice straddles both sides of the pond with two partners based in Chicago Gregory Grossman and Heidi Azulay and a further two in London Paul Jayson and Anthony Day, a tech lawyer.

It is a two-sided coin. Norris points to drone technology in construction and the need for buildings to integrate charging for electric cars.

Exclusion zone put in place while firefighters deal with blaze in Tadley industrial estate

Designing in stable energy supplies from renewables to make buildings energy-efficient and carbon neutral is another significant source of work. Hogan Lovells is also advising the Crown Estates on its renewable energy business, including its offshore wind portfolio.

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This further highlights how technology innovation is transforming real estate practice as property clients diversify their interests — and the smart firms are geared up to follow them. Driven by client demand, commercial real estate lawyers are increasingly harnessing the benefits of legal technology. We have also started to automate a range of real estate documents, meaning we can produce first draft deal documents soon after receiving instructions.

Barnett says this is good for clients because a quicker turnaround results in lower costs and more efficiency and the firm because it can win more business. The tool was used by AEW to purchase three multi-let properties, consisting of 45 commercial leases. Mishcon has also partnered with technology provider Kira to help build its AI-driven lease extraction models for the UK real estate market.

Leases are a key cause for delay in commercial property transactions, hence why firms are adopting lease information extraction technologies. With the advance of legal tech, lawyers can now process ever larger transactions which are in demand from the huge funds now dedicated to this sector.