Commercial real estate
Whether you're an investor looking to make a profit in the US, a luxury retailer searching for a prime location in London, or a non-profit interested in raising your profile through a new building project, Withers' commercial real estate team can serve your needs.
Our international lawyers offer insight and guidance on day-to-day real estate investments, as well as complex development projects.
A major development project that we have been involved in from start to finish is The Ned, a joint venture between the US hotel group Sydell Group and Soho House on the Ned. This Central London development has seen a prominent Grade I listed building that was originally designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens restored and converted into a five-star hotel. The development comprises 252 bedrooms; nine restaurants; bars from the underground vaults to the rooftop; a health spa and gym; and a private members’ club. ‘From a legal perspective we consulted on everything from valuable development and transaction leasing, efficient tax structuring and protecting new brands,’ says Head of commercial real estate Jeremy Wakeham, who worked on the project. ‘It has helped change the landscape in the City.’
Another example of our can-do approach was when we helped Thor Equities to acquire the building that houses Dolce & Gabbana’s flagship store in Milan. The property, in the city’s high-footfall ‘golden triangle’, was owned by a family that could not agree what to do with it. ‘I found common ground between Joseph Sitt, who owns Thor Equities, and the owners in order to bring about a meeting,’ says partner Anthony Indaimo, who handled the deal. ‘After a 20-year stalemate we were able to agree the full purchase of the property, giving the family a clean break and securing this beautiful building for our client.’
With more than 450 lawyers in 18 offices around the world, we act as trusted advisers to global companies as they expand internationally. We have recently been assisting an international leisure group to establish high-end hotels in capital cities around the globe. Our knowledge of worldwide real estate markets and our intimate understanding of international tax laws has allowed us to manage this entire project.
We are often chosen by non-profit organizations to handle real estate projects, such as when we acted for a charity in the Bay Area of San Francisco. A religious institution, its goals were threefold: to update the living quarters of around 60 elderly nuns; to protect a five-acre legacy garden that had existed for 125 years; and to turn the rest of the property over to a developer of single-family homes. Partner Steve Wilson, based in our San Francisco office, negotiated an agreement with the developer, secured the operation of the garden as a privately owned park accessible to the public, and found the exact tax-exempt classification that allowed the whole project to receive the blessing of the IRS.
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