Berwin Leighton Paisner's (BLP) star head of real estate Robert MacGregor has landed the most coveted real estate instruction this year, advising the Wood Wharf Partnership on its £2bn Docklands regeneration project.
MacGregor also advised on the neighbouring Canary Wharf development before he defected from Clifford Chance to BLP in October 2004. The mandate on Wood Wharf will go some way towards MacGregor justifying his headline-grabbing £1.3m income.
MacGregor's win is a blow to Clifford Chance, which was not asked to pitch on the mixed-used scheme despite its real estate team having the experience of working on Canary Wharf. Although some of that team has joined MacGregor at BLP, many of them remain at the magic circle firm.
BLP beat Lawrence Graham and SJ Berwin in a competitive tender. The latter two firms missed out on the regeneration of the 20-acre site next to Canary Wharf despite having previously acted for members of the Wood Wharf Partnership, which is a joint venture vehicle formed by British Waterways, Canary Wharf Group and Ballymore Properties.
It is understood that BLP won the mandate because of the firm's previous dealings with all three companies in the partnership. This includes advising British Waterways on its earlier individual bid for the mammoth London Docklands development.
Like Clifford Chance, Ashurst was left out of the tender process despite having advised Canary Wharf and Ballymore on an earlier bid for the project with a separate consortium.