DLA gets first referral from US beau Piper

DLA has received its first client referral from potential merger partner Piper Rudnick. The US firm has sent DLA an instruction on the largest redevelopment of a brownfield site currently planned for Europe.

US property developer Mills Corporation, a longstanding client of Piper Rudnick, has instructed DLA on its part in the proposed one million sq ft retail and leisure development at Ravenscraig, the former steelworks east of Glasgow.

The Ravenscraig Partnership, a joint venture between developer Wilson Bowden, Scottish Enterprise and site owner steel maker Corus, has proposed redeveloping the site into a town, with 3,500 homes, 900,000sq ft of retail space and two million sq ft of industrial and office space. Mills Corporation has been in talks to develop the retail elements of the project.

It is Mills Corporation’s first foray into the UK real estate market, but the development currently hangs in the balance, dependent on the outcome of an appeal before the Court of Session in Scotland.
Lodged by Semple Fraser litigation partner Kenneth Carruthers on behalf of Standard Life and Land Securities, the appeal contests a decision by the Scottish Executive to approve changes to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley structure plan, which enabled the Ravenscraig site to be granted town centre status.

The two companies, which own shopping centres in nearby Hamilton and East Kilbride, argue that the out-of-town development would have an adverse effect on nearby towns. A decision from the Court of Session is expected shortly.

However, the companies already secured one legal win against Ravenscraig in July, when Lord Carloway quashed North Lanarkshire Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the redevelopment before an outcome of the current hearing.

Brodies property partner Dale Strachan and litigation partner Neil Collar are advising Corus, Maclay Murray & Spens real estate partner Ian Quigley is advising Wilson Bowden and Scottish Enterprise has instructed McGrigors real estate partner Thomas Anderson.

DLA’s Scottish real estate team, led by head of real estate in Scotland Drew Wallace, is advising Mills Corporation on the planning process, while the DLA Upstream team is providing assistance lobbying the Government.

A spokesman for DLA said the firm was pleased that it was already benefiting from the potential merger with Piper Rudnick. A vote on the tie-up is scheduled for December.