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Real Estate Development

Real estate finance and development projects can be complicated and risky business transactions for a lender at any stage of the development. Our team of experienced professionals can protect your interests throughout the life cycle of the project to ensure you remain fully protected: from conception to completion, and into the warranty period.


From commercial office and retail accommodation, to inner-city mixed-use schemes and housing projects, we have the experience to understand your objectives and challenges. We can fully support you on such projects of any size. We advise major investors and funders on construction risks inherent in property and portfolio acquisitions.

Pharmaceutical Production Facilities

As one of the leading legal practices advising the pharmaceutical industry, we have extensive experience in advising on all aspects of procurement, financing and construction of major pharmaceutical process plants – both in the UK and internationally.

The design and construction of pharmaceutical facilities has never been a simple task. Changing technologies, a stringent regulatory environment and the need for exhaustive product testing add dimensions to projects not always found in those of other industries. International projects must overcome differences in language, politics, climate and time zones and uncertainties associated with ocean freight and material and labor availabilities — not to mention the obvious cultural differences.

Our lawyers have worked on a huge number of high-value projects throughout the world and are used to developing innovative solutions to enhance project deliverability. We have been trusted with the contracts for some of the largest and most ambitious projects in the world.

Procurement – Think Locally, Act Globally

One of the key principles for procuring a pharmaceutical project is to align the objectives of all participants and for participants to articulate the business purpose and functionality of the facility and give consideration to budgeted cost, time schedules and the quality criteria so that the project team’s leadership has a clear picture of the road ahead and the objectives. All of the key stakeholders in the project owner’s company must participate and have internal alignment sessions that include facility flexibility, expandability, code compliance and amenities.

For an international project, the alignment of the parties requires a broad analysis of issues and challenges unique to the selected site. From the conceptual design on, all significant players in facility design, procurement, construction and qualification must keep in mind unique aspects of the chosen location. Management (in practice and contractually) of the following issues during the construction process will assist in leading to a successful project:

  • Safety – Procedures should be developed to fit local culture and customs, but the ultimate goal is to establish a “project culture” that ensures worker safety and environmental protection.
  • Transfer of design intent – Initial planning for the project should consider the means by which the design intent will be transferred to the site and include a methodology for ensuring that the construction site staff has the benefit of the project technical approach established during the conceptual phase.
  • Contractor capability – Knowledge of the local business environment and the capability of area contractors are critical for execution in an international locale.
  • Local customs – There must be awareness of the social, legal and attitudinal differences between the company headquarters and the site location. Language and religious customs are the first differences that surface and must be accommodated.
  • Ethics and legal complications – Bribery or under-the-table payments are still common in some areas of the world. Principled managers must avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing to protect the fiduciary interests of their companies and the owner and in accordance with the company’s national laws.
  • Productivity assessment – The only means to ensure that the project is tracking to its budget and schedule targets is to constantly measure and track the results of construction activities.

Our Experience

We understand the interface between cost, risk and delivery. The size and international scope of our practice, coupled with our industry knowledge, puts us at the forefront of legal advisers in the sector and our approach gives our clients access to teams of lawyers who combine market knowledge with an international perspective.

Our team has individuals experienced in advising on procurement, contract choice, drafting and negotiation, project management and dispute avoidance of pharmaceutical projects both in the UK and overseas. Our expertise means we can draft and negotiate contracts and advise throughout the life cycle of the plant, from initial project conception, through building, extensions and modifications to mothballing, demolition and remediation. We also recognize that sometimes disputes are unavoidable. Whether claimant or respondent, we can advise you on the many different forms of dispute resolution used in the industry.

Development Finance

We understand that no two development projects are the same, even if the parties to the project have a successful track record of similar schemes. With significant experience of acting for both lenders and borrowers over several decades, we understand and identify the key commercial drivers that are relevant to all parties. We utilize this experience in order to evaluate the relative positions and commercial perspectives of all parties involved in the transaction and move quickly to assess your individual objectives. Our only goal is to adopt an approach that will protect your position and achieve your objectives; we do not raise irrelevant points and we will not unnecessarily delay your transaction. We work with you and the other parties involved in an efficient manner to navigate the legal and commercial complexities of your projects and to drive the transaction forward.

Our Experience

We advise on the full range of construction documentation, including building contracts, professional appointments, collateral warranties, parent company guarantees, performance bonds and priority agreements relating to step-in. We also advise on the construction aspects of the facility agreement. We work closely with other professionals (particularly your monitoring surveyor) to ensure that there is a coordinated approach to completing the transaction.

We have experience of the restructuring of deals, perhaps following an event of insolvency, and advise on the appropriate recourse to be made against defaulting parties, should this eventuality arise. We have the unique capability and experience of advising clients in the disputes arena (whether litigation or all forms of alternative dispute resolution) and, as such, we have an insight in to both the commercial drivers regarding the structuring of the transactions and the potential mechanisms for recourse.

  • Syndicate of major banks – Assisting with the construction and finance advice in relation to a £180 million loan to a venture capital company in relation to the purchase of eight motorway service stations (some new and recently constructed) from a company in administration.
  • Bank – Acting in connection with a £60 million development in Coventry, including a number of hotels, a casino, leisure and residential developments, and car parking.
  • Syndicate of banks – Advising on a £60 million motorway service area development neighboring the M25, including tunneling works beneath the motorway. Contract based on New Engineering Contract (NEC) Option A and included negotiating related agreements with the Highways Agency.
  • Funders – Advising on the £2 billion redevelopment of London Kings Cross Station by Argent.
  • Bank – Acting in the financing of construction costs for a £45 million residential development in Stratford, London, to include a large number of affordable units and including negotiations with the Residential Social Landlord, the contractor and the construction team.
  • Bank – Acting in relation to a total lend of £30 million across four schemes for residential care and treatment facilities in the southeast of England to create in excess of 300 beds.
  • Bank – Acting in relation to its borrower’s acquisition of a house builder out of insolvency and then subsequently financing the development of 450 residential units in Cambridge.
  • Equity fund – Acting in relation to a number of separate construction schemes in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia, having a collective value of €350 million and comprising mixed-use schemes, commercial, retail and residential.
  • Equity fund – Acting in relation to a £300 million acquisition, redevelopment and subsequent disposal of a skyscraper in London.
  • Bank – Acting in relation to a £100 million loan to a developer across a portfolio of 10 sites around England and Scotland to redevelop commercial and retail units.
  • Bank – Acting in relation to a £18 million facility for the construction of a 150-unit residential scheme in Manchester, together with the subsequent enforcement of security in circumstances where the contractor, the borrower and then (in turn) the end user all suffered consecutive events of insolvency. Dealing with step-in, completion of the works and subsequent disposal to a third party.
  • Bank – Advising on its borrower’s acquisition of the former Peugeot works in Coventry and provision of further development financing for the construction of 340 residential units.
  • Bank – Acting in relation to the redevelopment of a site at St James, Corby, for use as a retail site.
  • Bank – Acting in relation to a hotel redevelopment in Liverpool under the Business Premises Renovation Allowance scheme.
  • Bank – Acting in relation to the provision of £5 million for the redevelopment of a multiple occupancy site in Mayfair, London, to create a private members club. The work included drafting and negotiating complicated direct arrangements and step-in deeds between a number of parties having different interests in the land and completed development.

We also advise banks on the procurement of their own capital projects. Examples of this include:

  • Bank – Advising on the construction of a circa £200 million data center (one of the largest in Europe).
  • Bank – Advising on revising and updating its framework agreements for the appointment of contractors and a separate framework for the appointment of professional consultants for use in connection with new build and upgrade works to the bank’s property estate.
  • Bank – Acting in respect of a fit out contract for its London office.

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  • Major contractor – Advising on its contract under PPC2000 for the construction of a major drug manufacturing facility in the north of England for a hospital trust.
  • Major pharmaceutical company employer – Advising on a turnkey contract for the production of a pharmaceutical plant using an amended IChemE form of contract.
  • UK-headquartered pharmaceutical company – Advising on its drug manufacturing project facility in the northwest of England.
  • Employer – Advising on a turnkey contract for the production of a pharmaceutical plant using an amended IChemE form of contract.
  • Pharmaceutical company – Drafting and negotiating a contract to redevelop an existing facility for a new wound dressing manufacturing process plant.
  • Advising on disputes at a pharmaceutical plant under a NEC3 contract in relation to claims arising from compensation events, changes to the works information and the completion date.