Commercial property solicitors
With one of the largest teams of property lawyers in Scotland, our Commercial Property group advises clients of all sizes across the private, public and third sectors in relation to their property requirements.
We are leading Scottish Property Lawyers
From our offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Elgin and Shetland our Commercial Property team is one of the largest teams of experienced property lawyers in Scotland, advising clients of all sizes across the private, public and third sectors. Our specialists work exclusively in the real estate sector and can pro-actively deal with your commercial property needs in selling, purchasing, leasing, development, investment, portfolio management or funding matters.
We use our knowledge and excellent working relationships throughout the property industry to efficiently and pragmatically deal with your needs. We have the expertise to develop innovative structures and commercial solutions to complex contractual matters and have the strength and depth within the department to deal with transactions large or small.
We also work alongside clients and law firms based in jurisdictions outside Scotland who value our knowledge of the Scottish legal system.
We are able to call upon the support of specialist leading lawyers from other disciplines within the firm to work seamlessly with us to support our clients’ needs, including experts in the fields of construction law, property litigation, banking, corporate, restructuring, licensing and planning.
Purchase and sale
We advise our clients on a huge variety of commercial property acquisitions and sales across Scotland. We have a strong track record acting on portfolio acquisitions and large single asset deals in every sector – our experienced team has bought and sold shopping centres, hotels, retail parks, offices, business parks, student accommodation and industrial estates all over the country out of our nationwide network of offices.
We also regularly deal with sale and purchase transactions at a local level for our SME and private investor client base. We understand the particular nuances that go with each type of property, and each local market, which allows us to act commercially and efficiently to get the best results for our clients.
Investment and estate management
We represent a wide range of property investors – from private individuals to SME’s and large national and multinational companies – throughout Scotland. Our team work closely with clients in each case to understand their commercial goals and we ensure that we focus on what’s important in order to achieve those aims.
We work with local investors buying, letting and selling properties, and we also have the manpower to deal efficiently with large properties and portfolio purchases with substantial due diligence exercises. We often deal with cross-border transactions, working alongside firms in other jurisdictions and ensuring consistency of approach and clarity for our clients on the issues that matter.
We regularly deal with the letting of investment properties and we are experienced in estate management work, including lease re-gears, rent reviews and consents, all of which we strive to deal with in an efficient and cost-effective manner for our clients.
Our expert team advise landlords and tenants in leases of all types of commercial property and, as a result, we have an innate understanding of the needs of both sides. This understanding helps us to achieve quick and commercially achievable results for our clients in close liaison with their agents and other advisors.
We regularly deal with leases of shops and shopping centres, leisure destinations, offices, industrial estates and other commercial properties. We offer pragmatic, commercial advice on all aspects of leasing commercial property including:- leases, agreements for lease, subleases, interposed leases, assignations, rent deposits, guarantees, service charge, rent reviews, lease termination, recovery of possession, break clauses, dilapidations and responsibility for repairs.
Our team have considerable experience in dealing with every aspect of developing out land, buildings and infrastructure for industrial, commercial, retail, leisure, transport, ports and harbours.
Our legal advice covers projects through site assembly, statutory procedures, infrastructure agreements, utility supply or diversions, procurement advice, oversailing agreements, development agreements, overage agreements and clawback agreements.
We ensure that development agreements or option agreements have clear and fair procedures to deal with pre-conditions or suspensive conditions relative to site investigation, planning, statutory consents and other matters that are key to the viability of the development. We ensure that any price calculation mechanism is clear and fair to both parties, based on the agreed commercial terms.
Each development is funded differently and we are experienced in ensuring that the documentation for each development matches with the requirements for debt/equity funding, forward funding and joint venture agreements so that there are step in rights, moratoriums on default and collateral warranty provision, where appropriate.
Our team have considerable experience in dealing with every aspect of the process for acquiring land for residential development and in the assessment, from a legal perspective of the viability of a particular site and, where appropriate, assist clients with their submissions for recognition of land in Local Development Plans as suitable for residential development.
Our legal advice covers site assembly, statutory procedures, utility supply or diversions and devising strategy to secure sufficient land rights for roads, bridges, utilities, sewerage, drainage and other off-site infrastructure to serve a development site and, where appropriate, for the development in tandem with other interested parties in a commercially viable manner.
As part of option agreements or conditional sale/purchase agreements, we ensure there are clear and fair procedures to deal with pre-conditions or suspensive conditions relative to site investigation, planning, statutory consents and other matters that are key to the viability of the development. We ensure that any price calculation mechanism is clear and fair to both parties, based on the agreed commercial terms.
Private rented sector & build to rent
In recent years, there has been a move away from home ownership, with affordability and choice of a younger generation being the drivers of that.
We have worked with the growing numbers of developers and investors acquiring or developing larger portfolios of residential properties as affordability and choice of a younger generation has led to demand for more rental property. Many schemes now offer additional services on site or within the building such as co-working space, communal lounge areas or roof terraces, gyms or other outdoor leisure facilities.
We are able and adept at devising structures and legal documentation that can cater for all of this as originally designed and, as it evolves in terms of deeds of condition that recognise the increased regulation that is necessary for this lifestyle and the service delivery and facilities management that enable that.
We are experienced in dealing with the full range of debt and equity funding for the acquisition of real estate or investment into real estate companies and joint ventures. We know how to deploy the correct level of due diligence and reporting where the property is relatively straightforward in nature and thus fees need to match.
At the other end of the scale, we are experienced in dealing with the requirements of taking and granting security over property as collateral for larger debt and equity investments through Loan Market Association documentation and other more complex debt and security instruments. Our team ensures that its advice to banks, financial institutions and private clients delivers the desired solution in a commercially sound and cost-effective manner.
Leisure & hospitality
We have a growing client base in the hotel, leisure and hospitality sector, representing national clients as well as local businesses, and acting for investors, occupiers, restaurateurs, brewers and pubs, hotel and gym operators, bookmakers, festival organisers and other tourism businesses across the country.
Our experience in the sector allows us to provide clear and commercial property advice to our clients, and we work closely with our colleagues in our licensing, corporate, employment and litigation teams to ensure that complex deals are dealt with efficiently and effectively.
Our recent expansion into Moray bolsters our connection to major tourist hotspots and communities where food and drink, hotels and leisure activities are at the heart of the local economy. We regularly advise our clients on significant hotel and leisure transactions in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Angus, Inverness, and the Highlands.
Our team, dedicated to the retail sector, has a wealth of experience providing specialist advice to retailers, food and drink operators, charities, landlords, tenants, franchisors, franchisees, property agents and insolvency experts.
We act for a diverse range of clients including national and international brands as well as family run businesses, SMEs and entrepreneurs. We act for over 45 franchise systems based in Scotland and 75% of the Scottish members of the British Franchise Association and can assist growing businesses through franchising both domestically and abroad.
In the recent Chambers review, our Team was recognised as follows: “Established team with experience advising clients on a range of real estate, franchising and corporate matters, among other issues. Acts for a diverse set of clients in the retail sector, including entities from the fashion and food and beverage industries. Offers particular strength in advising retailers on lease regears in Scotland and throughout the UK.”
In a sector that continues to see significant consolidation and change we have considerable experience in acting for a number of consolidators and independent operators across the dental, veterinary and care home markets in particular, dealing with their property requirements in respect of mergers and acquisitions, estate management, property finance and development and applying our understanding of the regulatory, funding and other sector specific issues that apply to those involved in the healthcare market, from the large investment backed group to the independent high street vet or dental practice.
Healthcare is a good example of a sector where we work closely with our colleagues across our corporate, banking and construction teams to provide a full service offering to our clients.
Industrial & commercial
Our team have extensive experience in dealing with the property requirements of owners, occupiers and investors in industrial, office and other commercial business space. We offer pragmatic, commercial advice and regularly act for purchasers, sellers, developers and occupiers in the commercial business space market.
We can also call on colleagues within the firm to provide seamless specialist advice on related aspects for our clients (such as planning, construction and environmental).
Property structures & distressed property
We advise on asset protection, realisation strategies, restructuring of property companies and investments for stability and funding arrangements in a tax efficient manner. We act for banks, financial institutions, insolvency practitioners, hedge funds and private clients to achieve their desired solutions in dealing with insolvency related and distressed real estate. Our pragmatic, commercial advice is valued by those who operate in the finance and insolvency and turnaround sector.
We have extensive experience providing landowners with telecoms related property advice especially in relation to applications by Operators for new mast site leases or wayleaves under the Electronic Communications Code. Our close working relationships with surveyors who are also experts in field of telecoms means that we can always ensure that our clients receive the best possible advice on all aspects of telecoms related transactions.
Examples of our work
We advise contractors, developers, funders, investors, office and retail tenants on a variety of property and construction matters. We also work with property professionals including engineers, surveyors, architects and accountants to achieve their aims and objectives.
Acting for a major PLC in the investment purchase of a 79,000 sq ft fully let department store in Glasgow for redevelopment and onward sale. Despite contractual and due diligence complexities, the transaction completed exactly one month after the heads of terms were finalised.
We advised on the acquisition & development of Myrekirk Retail Park, Dundee for Marketgait Developments Limited. The development comprises over 30,000 square foot of retail and commercial development, including for the anchor tenant, Home Bargains, and involved innovative legal work across infrastructure, planning, construction and title/lease documentation, coupled with the tailored security and step in rights to access development funding.
Acting as Scottish advisors to a leading European investment fund in relation to both the acquisition and subsequent financing of a multi-tenanted industrial estate in Scotland as part of a wider £80,000,000 portfolio acquisition of industrial assets throughout the UK.
We continue to act for our long-standing client of 29 years, JD Sports Fashion plc, in dealing with the management of their Scottish property portfolio. Over the years we have acted in key lettings and re-gears in relation to numerous shopping centre and retail parks throughout Scotland, including the St James Centre, Edinburgh.
Representing Halfords Autocentres as lead lawyers in relation to their buyout of McConechy’s Tyres (a deal involving the acquisition of 63 sites across Scotland and England) and their disposal of Cycle Republic (involving 11 sites).
Working with our colleagues in the corporate and construction teams, acting for the purchasers of Ardersier Port Limited, owners of the Port of Ardersier, the largest brownfield port in the UK with 400 acres of formerly developed and now disused land and a mile long harbour that once was previously home to the McDermott Yard, employing 4,500 people. We advised on all property matters in respect of the purchase and our clients’ plans to develop an Energy Transition Facility to serve the oil and gas and renewables sector at this key strategic location.
We have been advising on a joint venture between a care home operator and building contractor on various completed and ongoing care home developments, assisting in all aspects of the project from the land purchase contract, the planning process, funding, contract purification and purchase, the development and ongoing sale/lease to the operator. In 2021 we completed the first sale of a finished home for the JV having concluded the initial land purchase in summer of 2020.
Acting for Upland Properties Limited in the multi-million pound sale of the 22,000 square foot Aviemore Shopping Centre and 13,000-square-foot Myrtlefield Centre, both fully let with a further 10 retail properties located in Aviemore and Inverness.
“Thank you all for the professional way in which you have dealt with the refinancing. Great result for all of us and I look forward to furthering the business opportunities for us all going forward.”
“They have deep knowledge of our needs as a business and a sharp commercial focus.”
“To date I have been impressed by Harper Macleod’s concentration on the provision of a legal service that suits our needs. They seem to understand our business well, have a helpful attitude and are showing a genuine interest in our work.”
“John Meehan – one of the best in Scotland in the property sector. He is able to draw on his depth of experience and commercial savvy to solve problems whilst also being a genuinely nice guy. He also listens intently to what us, his clients, and his junior colleagues have to say in order to find a path through any practical challenges that often emerge as a deal progresses. He is the most well-rounded lawyer I have come across.”
“Caroline Summers works on a number of our projects and has a detailed knowledge of all areas of property law. She is responsive (usually within the hour!), helpful and efficient and is an informed problem solver with a focus on getting the deal done. She provides valued advice throughout transactions and has a practical commercial outlook.” “Caroline Summers has always provided excellent service and advice when dealing with some tricky situations. Makes you feel that you are her main priority.”
“Andrew Upton is very knowledgeable and confident in how he advises us.” “He has throughout my involvement shown a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the issues. He’s proactive and responds promptly. I am personally very happy to rely on his expertise.”
“John Meehan is an outstanding legal advisor.” “John Meehan’s knowledge of both Contract law and commercial undertakings – across a variety of scenarios is quite simply second to none. His response and follow up action times excel all others whom I have had the fortune and indeed, on occasions, the misfortunes to work alongside.” “John Meehan has the insight and ability to ask the right questions and understand the bigger picture of what a Client is seeking to achieve.”
“Limor Wolfe and the team are our go-to support for real estate finance matters that require Scots input. We find them reliable, cost-effective and easy to work with.”
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