The real estate blog: Howes Percival grows in Cambridge

At the start of the month Howes Percival boosted its Cambridge office through the hire of a four strong team of real estate partners from Taylor Vinters.

The move saw partners Steven Beach, Michaela Henson, Simon Murphy and Amy Richardson join Howes Percival in what was described as a “mutually agreed department transfer”. However, for the firm’s Cambridge head Jonathan Greenhalgh expanding the team has been part of the Howes Percival plan since the office opened in January.

“The office involved some quite well experienced lawyers very much focused on providing a high quality partner led service to real estate partners in and around Cambridge,” says Greenhalgh.

“We developed that business over the course of the year but always with an eye on upping growth in Cambridge and growth into the corporate sphere as well.”

Since its opening the office has grown to 24 lawyers, including 22 from the commercial and residential real estate teams and two corporate lawyers. Adam Kudryl leads the corporate team and often provides complimentary work for the real estate team around structuring and finance. Kudryl expects his team to grow as the addition of a corporate team is expected from clients.

“We’ve found clients do expect that we have a corporate offering,” says Greenhalgh. “They do want the full service so when we’re offering them a core real estate service we need to have the ability to handle the corporate side as well as the planning and construction side.”

Despite the corporate team’s expectation to grow Kudryl has no current plans for another team acquisition. Although the Taylor Vinters team has given the Cambridge office exposure to more clients, the hires were carried out sooner than Greenhalgh expected.

“It has fitted well with our growth strategy in Cambridge,” says Greenhalgh, “although I have to be honest and say we’re extremely excited about it and it’s got us to a place that we didn’t necessarily expect to be in so quickly.”

Although the recent hires have greatly boosted the office’s headcount the firm is continuing to look at growth, but in what Greenhalgh describes as a more controlled way. This is to ensure that the service the office provides to its clients can be maintained while the expansion takes place.

Deals

Deal one: Macfarlanes has advised Rocket Investments on securing a £240m loan facility to finance the development of the Atlas Building on London’s City Road.

The new 40-storey tower will be built on London’s City Road and comprise of over 300 flats and 90,000sq ft of office and retail space.

Senior debt will be provided by a syndicate consisting of ICBS, The Bank of East Asia and led by Lloyds Bank.

The Macfarlanes team included real estate partner Clare Breeze, real estate finance partner Colin Morgan, construction partner Ann Minogue and tax partner James McCredie.

Berwin Leighton Paisner also advised Highbridge Principal Strategies and Urban Exposure on a mezzanine loan to part finance the £400,000 development.

Naveen Vijh led BLP’s real estate finance team and was supported by Lydia Boos and Joseph Wong.

Deal two: CMS Cameron McKenna has advised Viatel on the sale of its infrastructure business to Zayo Group.

The deal sees Viatel see its non-Irish fibre and optical wavelengths business for $102m (£67.12m). The network comprises of a 8,400km backbone of fibre network across eight countries and includes metro networks in 12 cities and 150 data centres.

Partner Stuart Blythe led the CMS team with assistance from tax partner Sam Dames and senior associates Nicholas Kuria and Tom Reid.