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Lovells has advised big-five surveying firm Healey & Baker on the West End's largest letting deal in 2001.
Healey & Baker has signed up for Portman Square House, which is owned by Haslemere. The deal involved the assignment of Chevron UK's lease on 6,503sq m of the building. Following Chevron's merger with Texaco, the operations of both companies are being consolidated into Texaco's Westferry Circus office at Canary Wharf. Kathryn Gates of Edwards Geldard advised Chevron and Nabarro Nathanson advised Haslemere. Lovells senior property lawyer Peter Farrell led the team acting for Healey & Baker under the supervision of partner Michael Stancombe, who manages the client relationship for real estate work. Jude James assisted. Lovells started advising Healey & Baker on its property requirements some eight years ago, and has acted as principal adviser to the surveyor for more than five years. Farrell said that the relationship works both ways. "They will recommend us if they can to their clients if they're looking for new lawyers and we will recommend them to our clients if they want to instruct a surveyor. There is a very close and strong relationship there."
"They will recommend us to their clients and we will recommend them if our clients they want to instruct a surveyor" Peter Farrell, Lovells
Lovells' early property work for Healey & Baker tended to focus on more straightforward management work. "That helped build up a strong relationship," said Farrell. The relationship was also developed by Lovells employment partner John Pearson, who worked on Healey & Baker's partnership deed. This early property and employment work meant that Lovells was well placed to win the instruction to advise Healey & Baker on its merger with US company Cushman and Wakefield in 1998. Since then, Farrell has also advised Healey & Baker on its disposal last July of its City office at 27 Austin Friars to Devonshire Business Services Group. The Portman Square deal was done without any leaks into the market. "The last thing we would have wanted was to allow anybody else to come in and gazump when we were negotiating the documents and doing the due diligence," said Farrell. In May, Healey & Baker was reported to have lost out on space at Paddington Basin to Marks & Spencer.