Unsurprisingly, what little major real estate work that is around has found its way to the usual trio of law firms – Berwin Leighton Paisner, Hogan Lovells and Nabarro. And while the usual suspects continued to do what they do best, 2012 Legal Business real estate team of the year, Mishcon de Reya, has strengthened its team with a key lateral hire.
Hogan Lovells is representing fellow international firm CMS Cameron McKenna over plans to move its entire London operation to the newly developed Cannon Place site above Cannon Street station, where it has agreed to take a 25-year lease, when it vacates its existing premises at Mitre House in 2015. The scheme is a joint venture between international real estate firm Hines and Network Rail.
The Hogan Lovells team was led by real estate partner Dion Panambalana, alongside infrastructure and project finance partner Gillian Thomas, while Berwin Leighton Paisner’s commercial real estate partner Alan Wight represented the team acting for the landlord.
An enthusiastic Panambalana said: ‘We are delighted to have been selected to act for CMS Cameron McKenna on what is one of the major lettings of 2013. We think the space is great too.’
Elsewhere, Nabarro advised wealth and investment manager Walker Crips on the establishment of its regulated short-term lending fund launched last week.
As the first regulated bridging finance investment fund in the UK, the initiative is designed to generate a target annual income of 8.4% by providing credit to short-term lending companies specialising in residential property, essentially giving a predictable and sustainable income to investors and much needed capital to property developers, said James Allen, manager of the fund at Walker Crips.
Nabarro’s head of alternative investment funds Andrew Wylie said: ‘We have worked hard with Walker Crips to create a unique fund in the regulated market. As well as being regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, the fund is also a Tax Elected Fund with a structure that satisfies the rules set out by HM Revenue & Customs for this type of product.’
‘Whilst being tailored to bridging finance in this case, we believe the structure we have created could be applied successfully in other lending markets.’
Meanwhile, Mishcon de Reya has hired Olswang’s head of construction Nick Lane as a real estate partner. Lane will join on 2 September and will sit within the firm’s property litigation group as a contentious construction specialist.
His appointment is part of Mishcons growth strategy in disputes, or as Kevin Gold told Legal Business in May, a growth strategy in which it aspires to become ‘one of the leading litigation firm in London.’
Mishcon, with growth rates making it the envy of its peers of late, currently has a three-year strategy for 2013-16 in which has a rather conservative revenue target of £100m by 2016. Its turnover is currently £88.4m.
Speaking of Lane’s appointment, head of real estate Nick Doffman said: ‘Contentious work accounts for more than half of the firm’s business and has become an area of strength for our real estate department.’
‘Our property litigation team has performed beyond expectations during the downturn, and Nick will be instrumental in helping us to grow our existing contentious construction capability.’