Law firm trio advises as British Land fills up West End development

Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB), SJ Berwin and White & Case all landed roles as British Land secured the first two pre-lets on its 10 Portman Square development.

Saudi Arabian oil firm Saudi Aramco affiliate Aramco Overseas Company UK has agreed to take 24,392 sq ft of office space in the fourth and fifth floors of the building, while investment manager Aspect Capital has taken 24,520 sq ft on the top two floors of the seven-floor building.

According to reports, the average rent in the building is £90.76 per sq ft. It is around 57 per cent pre-let, with development expected to be completed in April 2013.

SJ Berwin advised long-time client British Land on the deal, with real estate partner Matthew Priday leading.

BDB real estate partner David Darvill advised Aspect Capital and White & Case advised Saudi Aramco, with commercial real estate partner David Cox leading.

Background to this deal:

Priday is one of around five or six British Land relationship partners at SJ Berwin. The firm divides client roles along geography – such as the West End and the City – and between retail and offices. Priday mostly acts on British Land’s West End developments, which include buildings in Marble Arch and Regents Park.

SJ Berwin has a historical relationship with British Land and used to do the bulk of the company’s legal work. Former partners Jonathan Metliss and Michael Metliss, who left for Davenport Lyons and Berwin Leighton Paisner in 2008 and 2010 respectively, were sons of former British Land board member Cyril Metliss.

More recently, British Land appears to have been spreading its mandates around. Mayer Brown acted for the property group on its £130m acquisition of a Mayfair estate in July (30 July 2012).

Likewise, Saudi Aramco is a key client of White & Case, with the relationship dating back decades.