Clifford Chance and Eversheds have sealed Tishman Speyer Properties' (TSP) latest move in the City by advising on the acquisition of a £100m-site at Aldgate East from Marsh & McLennan.
The US property giant plans to build almost 1.5 million sq ft of office space on the site. The deal follows TSP's acquisition of the Tower Place site from Marsh & McLennan last year. Tishman Speyer is building two office towers on the site, encompassing about 400,000sq ft of space. Marsh & McLennan, already one of its tenants in Chicago, initially agreed to lease 200,000sq ft, but has since exercised its option to take the rest of the site. The latest deal includes a short-term lease in favour of Marsh Properties & Services, the term of which ties in with Marsh & McLennan's move to Tower Place.
TSP does not have a formal panel for its European activity, but appointed a Clifford Chance team led by Sally Lovitt to advise on both deals. European general counsel Mark Kingston says he has yet to decide who he will instruct on construction matters relating to the new site.
Kingston says that the acquisition was fairly quick, but he adds: "It was a little complex because there are retail units underneath the offices. There were a lot of service-charge issues."
The team also had to deal with employment, tax and planning matters.
Eversheds advised Marsh & McLennan. The London office was instructed on the basis of a longstanding relationship with Sedgwick Group Properties, which was taken over by Marsh & McLennan in 1998. The relationship gave Eversheds a historic knowledge of the site, which includes the former Sedgwick Centre building.
The Eversheds team was led by consultant John Rothwell and partner Jeremy Brooks, who introduced Sedgwick to Eversheds when they joined from Waltons & Morse in 1996.
Allen & Overy acted for the Royal Bank of Scotland on the acquisition finance, with David Williams and Mark O'Neill leading the team.
TSP is now looking to get a pre-let so that it can build out the development and is set to start marketing the site in earnest. Allen & Overy and Berwin Leighton Paisner are rumoured to be among the interested parties.
"It wouldn't surprise me if certain law firms looked at it. If they are reasonably cost conscious it's going to be cheaper for them because of the way we've priced the deal. It's a good location for lawyers, right next to Aldgate," says Kingston.