Taylor Wessing and Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) have both secured roles on the latest major real estate deal to emerge in the City this summer, advising on property group UOL’s purchase of the Heron Plaza site for £97m.
Sold by property tycoon Gerald Ronson, Heron Plaza will be UOL’s first major development in London and its first foray into Europe. Located off Bishopsgate, the 3,200-square metre site has been prepared for development over a 15-year period with planning consent gained for a 44-storey tower, a 5-star hotel, and residential and retail units.
Taylor Wessing real estate partner Keith Barnett leads a team advising longstanding client Heron International, which includes corporate partner Russell Holden and tax partner Peter Jackson.
BLP chairman Robert MacGregor and real estate partner Deepa Deb are advising UOL, with a team that includes corporate partner Dylan Mackenzie and tax partner Richard Harbot.
On the deal, Deb said: ‘Despite the complexities and tight timeframe, the transaction went incredibly smoothly and we are very much looking forward to continuing to work with UOL on the Heron Plaza project as it is developed.’
UOL general counsel and company secretary Sien Seu Yeong credited BLP for its work on the deal and said the team was ‘highly responsive’ and provided ‘commercially pragmatic legal advice’.
He added: ‘We look forward to continuing to deepen our working relationship with BLP as we make progress on the development of this project’.
Having beaten a number of high-profile bidders for the mandate, Heron Plaza adds to property giant UOL’s already extensive portfolio. With total assets of more than $10bn in Asia and Australia, it currently owns and operates 38 hotels, resorts and serviced units across Asia, Oceania and North America.
In a summer that has seen firms act on a spate of lucrative deals for prime real estate clients in central London, other notable mandates include Baker & McKenzie securing a heavyweight role advising on the receivership of the Gherkin, while Ashurst also advised opposite Reed Smith in July on the £300m purchase of a 50,000 sq ft strip of prime real estate on New Bond Street, the first time in 40 years that the privately-owned properties have been on the market.