Property development

The property development cycle of site acquisition, assembly and contract negotiation through funding and construction to final disposal is a challenge for real estate and commercial property lawyers.  It is one we relish.

This is exciting work, where experienced lawyers make a big difference to developer clients. Specialist commercial property lawyers can significantly enhance viability and profit margins. They can accelerate cash flow by taking a vigorous and proactive approach to disposals. They can also be the difference between whether a deal happens or not. Reconciling the interests, aims and aspirations of all the parties in a development project requires skilled negotiation and innovative thinking, so that the transaction can be structured or restructured effectively. Specialist lawyers are also essential for risk avoidance and expert due diligence.

We act for:

  • Developers
  • Funders
  • Pension scheme providers
  • Institutions
  • Businesses
  • Other organisations and end-users

The property development projects we work on encompass every type of development venture, including:

  • Urban regeneration
  • Business parks
  • Mixed-use schemes
  • Shopping centres
  • Hotels
  • Offices
  • Volume housing
  • Standalone projects, such as single-building flat conversions

Our commercial property lawyers fully grasp the huge range of legal issues relating to development. They are supported by other specialist lawyers at Lyons Davidson in areas including property litigation, planning and environment.

As with all our real estate and commercial property law work, we seek innovative resolutions to problems. If we need to, we will throw away the precedent books to unlock a site that cannot be taken forward using conventional structures and documents. By adopting this approach, we have achieved unusual solutions for clients, including:

  • Property not fundable: potential development sites earmarked by our client were too speculative to attract conventional funding. Therefore, we designed schemes and documentation to enable acquisition and development of the sites without secured finance. This was through co-operation between landowner, developer and contractor after marketing and forward-selling units to end-users on negotiated conditional contracts, even before planning permission had been granted
  • Developers’ cash flow: we produced legal structures to improve cash flow for the developer by enabling the end-user tenant to complete on acquisition of the legal estate at the beginning rather than the end of the development, therefore giving security to its funder and enabling draw-down of instalment payments through the construction phase
  • Risk-free development: acting for a charity, we designed a scheme and documentation to enable high-value development of land owned by the charity using a legal structure that ring-fenced the development risk and liability in a nominee company, therefore avoiding possible exposure to possible claims of the charity’s other assets
  • Payment in kind: we drafted documentation for residential developers who pay for land by granting leases of completed apartments to sellers at the end of development rather than by paying cash on completion of the purchase
  • Proactive approach: for volume house builders, our dedicated plot-sale team takes an energetic approach to hitting clients’ year-end targets for exchange and completion by chasing up and down the chain to identify and resolve weaker links that cause delay. We have a proud record of success in this respect

For more information, please get in touch.

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