Real Estate Development and Leasing

Dechert’s real estate development and leasing group provides cutting edge, strategic and tax-efficient advice on investment structures, real estate transactions and project planning, development and construction.

Investment Structures

We provide clients with creative, flexible, tax-efficient structuring advise designed to facilitate funding from traditional and non-traditional investment sources, offering investors greater liquidity and diversification opportunities for their property investment portfolios.

We structure, and provide ongoing advice on, a variety of investment vehicles, including limited partnerships, offshore trusts, investment trusts and joint ventures, as well as advising on the use of innovative nonrecourse borrowing, hybrid lease and securitization structures.

We help clients to identify and develop the optimal structures for their investment strategies and to resolve any legal, regulatory and tax issues that may arise.

Buying and Selling Property

We perform all necessary due diligence, including examining title and leases, thoroughly reviewing planning, environmental and regulatory issues and handling contract negotiations. Our comprehensive advice to buyers and sellers of property holding companies covers title, tax and other due diligence matters, the availability and enforceability of certificates of title, guarantees and warranties and the best ways to avoid and limit liability.

Development, Planning and Construction

With extensive experience and a clear understanding of the needs of our retail, commercial, residential and leisure developer clients, we provide strategic advice on planning and development opportunities and assist with site assembly, tax structuring, development and funding agreements, preparation and conduct of planning applications and appeals, compulsory purchases, and contaminated land and a range of other environmental issues. We advise on procurement strategies and construction contract documentation (including tenders, building contracts, bonds, guarantees, collateral warranties, insurance and other commercial arrangements) and resolve construction disputes through negotiation, arbitration or litigation.

Dechert lawyers assemble development sites and secure the necessary development consents for retail, commercial housing and leisure projects.

Prior to the acquisition of a site, we assist with negotiating land assembly and development agreements (including company structure and tax) and advise on sensitive site issues such as conservation areas, listed buildings, tree preservation orders, nature and landscape designations and contaminated land issues. We offer strategic and detailed advice on planning and development opportunities, the preparation, submission and conduct to decision of planning applications including for EIA development, the conduct of planning appeals by any method, drafting and negotiating planning and highway agreements, compulsory purchase and compensation and the promotion of land through the development plan process and proposal formulation.

Once the client has acquired a site and obtained planning consent, we advise on all aspects of project structuring, contract documentation including procurement strategy, the preparation of tender procedures and draft and negotiate building contracts, including standard industry forms and bespoke contracts, novation agreements, bonds, guarantees and collateral warranties, insurance and professional indemnity insurance and financing arrangements. During the construction phase, we advise on various legal matters, including contract administration and dispute resolution.

We are also experienced in contentious aspects of planning, construction and real estate including statutory challenges, judicial review, arbitration and adjudication.

Landlord and Tenant Issues

Dechert lawyers act for large institutional landlords as well as for retailers and other corporate occupiers of flagship/anchor/headquarters premises. We apply a comprehensive understanding of the landlord-tenant relationship and property management to the advice we provide on leasing matters, rent reviews and dispute resolution. We negotiate leases; subleases; consents to assign, alter and use; and lease renewals and advise on security of tenure and other key end-of-term issues, such as dilapidations and exit strategies.

In addition to counseling clients on rent review issues, we frequently represent parties in contested reviews. Based on a client’s commercial priorities, we tailor our dispute resolution strategy to meet its needs, including litigation, arbitration, mediation and, when appropriate, the use of self-help remedies.

Financing the Deal

We set up real estate ownership vehicles as joint ventures or partnerships, self-funded or leveraged entities, etc., as well as providing tax-efficient advice on all contractual relationships, documentation and loan agreements. We regularly advise clients on:

  • Raising finance through equity, debt and securitization, including innovative, nonrecourse borrowing and hybrid lease structures
  • Raising funds on stock exchanges through flotations, placings, offers and IPOs
  • Financing and structuring management buyouts and buy-ins of public or privately owned property vehicles, including venture capital- raising aspects
  • Stamp duty, VAT mitigation and other tax exemptions

The Client Relationship

We work closely with each client to gain a thorough understanding of their commercial objectives within the market in which they operate. We make it appoint to know as much as we can about our clients’ businesses to better devise creative and effective solutions to whatever challenges are standing between them and their goals.

An Industry Leader in the UK, Too

Dechert is recognized by both Chambers and The Legal 500 as having one of the leading real estate practices in the United Kingdom.