King & Spalding sets up property hub in Frankfurt

King & Spalding has vowed to advance its European real estate presence following the launch of its Frankfurt office.

As reported on www.the (5 September), the office is launching with two partners in the shape of former Oppenheim Immobilien-Kapitalanlagegesellschaft (OIK) general counsel Mario Leissner and Michael Prinz zu Lowenstein, who comes from local firm Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek.

King & Spalding real estate and capital markets head Scott Arnold told The Lawyer: “We have a very strong relationship with Oppenheim Bank in the States and we know Mario very well. He’s been very much involved in structuring transactions as well as legal work.”

A statement from King & Spalding stressed that OIK and the firm will maintain a good relationship after Leissner has moved across.

The firm’s decision to take advantage of the booming German real estate market comes in part from the German expertise it has in its New York office.

New York-based German national and corporate partner Wilfred Witthun is experienced in the German real estate market and the regulatory framework that governs the industry.

Arnold said: “Wilfred has a good knowledge of the market and the challenges and the benefits Germany presents to us as a firm. He’s a specialist in investment companies and this is the area that’s significant for us.”

Future plans for the Frankfurt office are ambitious, with a recruitment drive well underway. Arnold is confident about what the firm views as a strong starting team and is hopeful about expanding its capabilities into other practice areas.

“Ultimately we want to have finance, tax and corporate teams based in Frankfurt. We expect the office to grow fast and allow us to build up what the firm can do in this jurisdiction,” he added.