CMS takes top advisory role on BT Nine Elms development

CMS has trumped BT’s real estate panel firms to take on its first real estate deal for BT, advising the telecoms giant on its plans for the UK’s tallest brick clad building in London’s Nine Elms.

Battersea Power Station

The firm has boosted its role on BT’s panel after being hired as a corporate adviser in 2009 (30 September 2009), while HBJ Gately Wareing and Trowers & Hamlins have been hired to take on real estate work supported by Bird & Bird, Cripps Harries Hall and Wright Hassall.

But CMS has now beaten a number of other firms in a pitch process to take the winning role on the redevelopment and planned disposal, led by client relationship manager and real estate partner Edward Benzecry, planning partner Ashley Damiral and senior associate Paul Thompson.

Though this is the first real estate instruction the firm has picked up for BT, Damiral said the firm had been advising on real estate matters and a number of other practice areas for over six months. He added that the firm had swiped the role through connections in other practice areas with the company and by demonstrating strong real estate connections.

CMS is already advising Royal Mail and Sainsburys on projects in Nine Elms. The Royal Mail relationship also stemmed from contacts in the corporate team and spans several practice areas.

Damiral said: “We saw the BT opportunity and a couple of our partners had already started to make contact with BT including Edward.”

“We are seing more work coming in from other practice areas like BT. Edward is also advising Royal Mail on their Nine Elms site, which is again something coming from a wider relationship,” he added.

The Nine Elms area includes 450 acres of land between Battersea Park and Lambeth Bridge on the South Bank of the Thames and is a major redevelopment zone in South London.

BT is planning a scheme consisting of 415 homes, 2,835 sq metres of employment floor space and 874 square metres of retail and associated car parking.

CMS was added to BT’s revamped panel in 2009 and kept its spot when the company finalised a global ’network’of 140 law firms to advise it earlier this year. The company appointed 19 firms to advise it on UK and Ireland matters including CMS and every other real estate panel firm apart from Cripps Harries Hall (25 March 2013).