Development

I have been involved in development work for a private property company (see Experience Section Investment Property) (involving a major West End of London retail development) and some years earlier in advising on all aspects of redevelopment of a banking headquarters in the West End. Whilst I have in those and other cases advised developers, much of my experience of development has been gained from advising landowners such as the corporate occupiers disposing of surplus property referred to in the Experience: Corporate Property Section, and institutions holding property in the City of London wishing to secure redevelopment by the grant of the equity sharing ground leases (a subject which has been a particular speciality and about which I have written in the Estates Gazette and conducted a nationwide survey of institutions and developers – the two articles in the EG were republished in booklet form). The City transactions often required the solving of complex problems of site assembly where ownership is varied and the parties do not wish to sell.

Examples:

Negotiating on behalf of the City Parochial Foundation the terms of a number of development leases of substantial – and sometimes landmark – buildings in the City of London. Dealing – often directly – with well-known developers in these transactions, and seeking to draft and agree innovative provisions to reconcile the apparently irreconcilable interests of the parties, has given me a considerable insight into the developer’s approach (as well as experience in protecting the landowner’s interests).

For the same client (for which Farrer’s Commercial Property Team – with me as client partner until my retirement) have acted exclusively since 1972) arranging on two occasions the reconciliation of the interests of different landowners in notable City development sites. In one case I was able to rescue a deal which had almost stalled by designing an innovative structure of leases which enabled the development to proceed whilst leaving every landowner with a distinct and marketable land interest and a properly secured income.

Dealing with all aspects of a transaction for a developer client who was contracting to provide a new building to an educational institution in return for taking on the properties which as a result had become surplus. This was a complex negotiation involving three properties, with planning aspects and, again, provisions for clawback and overage to protect the educational institution.

Drafting and negotiating a development agreement for a multi-use West of England marine-related development. The project was complex as it involved a number of different potential uses which would involve a number of developers: there was also a restrictive covenant issue. Some years earlier, I drafted and negotiated an even more complex agreement between the land owners and a Texan developer for the sectional development of the whole of the Surrey Docks in London to include a 6m sq ft Merchandise Mart. Unfortunately, the project proved abortive despite many months of negotiation.

Advising a West End bank on all aspects of a redevelopment of its headquarters building, from negotiating a new head lease, through the obtaining of vacant possession, a lengthy Public Inquiry following refusal of planning permission, drafting and negotiation of the building contract and professional appointments, and ultimately reletting the retail units.

For a private property company, negotiating a long lease of a major Bond Street store and advising in relation to all aspects of its redevelopment, again including construction matters, and pre-letting to a well known luxury goods manufacturer.

I have recently been involved in two major town extensions, where I advised landowners affected on “collaboration agreements” to ensure equitable distribution of proceeds of sale. The agreements were unusual, and the arrangements also required option agreements with the prospective developers and an understanding of the various development and planning agreements involved.

Recently, negotiating a Development Agreement involving land at Corby under a complex arrangement where a third party was seeking to avoid pollution remediation under a Deed of Indemnity. This matter involved not only negotiating a complex agreement for development by stages with various by-back options etc but also a supplemental agreement under which the developer was to fund litigation in relation to the indemnity; see also section Services: Dispute Resolution

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