One of the greatest strengths offered by DLA Piper in the real estate sector is seamless coordination of national, international and global transactions, as well as worldwide advisory services for our clients. Like the real estate industry itself, our practice is both local and international.

With over 500 real estate lawyers in more than 75 international offices, we have the largest real estate network of any law firm in the world. There are more than 30 real estate lawyers in our offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne and Munich, combining outstanding knowledge of regional markets with an international perspective.

Thanks to our full-service approach, we offer market-leading expertise in all matters related to real estate law, real estate transactions and financing, and project development.

Real estate investment

We advise buyers and sellers on real estate transactions of all kinds, whether they are structured as asset or share deals, individual or portfolio transactions, or joint ventures. Our clients include portfolio managers, project developers, investors, insurance companies and banks, while our area of expertise includes all relevant real estate law investment classes such as commercial, office, residential or speciality properties.

We advise leading national and international companies on real estate transactions in Germany, and support our clients in dealing with regulatory matters related to foreign investment. We are particularly knowledgeable in the area of insurance regulation, while our many years of experience enable us to advise our clients effectively during the buying and selling process and to place the emphasis right where it counts.

Real estate financing

We offer advisory services during all phases of real estate financing, from due diligence and term sheet negotiation, through preparing and negotiating all types of financing documents, to active support in fulfilling requirements for disbursement, as well as any later syndication and restructuring. Our team has both extensive knowledge of the market, including focus areas such as office, retail, hotel, logistics and residential, and a thorough understanding of the individual needs of our clients. That mix results in constructive, practically oriented, efficient advisory services for all types of real estate financing. Our advisory services range from structuring financing transactions to drafting and negotiating financing agreements.

Project development

We advise project developers and investors during all phases of project development, from property analysis and construction to realization of a project. We view project development as a multidisciplinary task. Dividing a project into individual legal areas such as public and private building law, property-related commercial law, corporate law, tax law and the like often leads to frictional losses. Legal advisers frequently lack an overall view because they are too preoccupied with their own subject areas.

Instead of thinking in terms of subject areas, we concentrate on the categories and phases involved in your project. We are primarily project development lawyers; being extraordinarily well-qualified specialist lawyers is secondary. Successful project development requires rapid decisions and flat hierarchies. Our comprehensive, seamless advisory services covering every relevant subject area save you from having to coordinate lawyers from different firms.

Real estate restructuring

Many real estate investments have had to be restructured over the past few years. We represented various sides in that process, but we primarily advise lenders when national or international real estate investors are forced to restructure their real estate investments or when banks have to develop exit strategies. In that regard, we offer advice on optimizing existing portfolios and the associated financing, refinancing, restructuring and impending insolvency. Our service also includes a review of collateral, along with advice on optimizing the underlying value of real property. We have extensive experience in the area of restructuring and refinancing real estate investments and are familiar with all aspects of any problems and their solutions.

Real estate funds

We advise our clients on the full range of real estate funds, particularly funds that invest in domestic and foreign properties. Our team offers customized solutions for investments in a highly regulated sector that frequently requires unusual solutions. Our advisory services further extend to creating and structuring open-end and closed-end funds as well as speciality funds. We advise fund sponsors and their investors from the initial structuring, through the drafting and negotiation of fund-related agreements, to the preparation of offering prospectuses, as well as the procurement of authorization to sell to the public and other permits required under laws on investments. We have specialized in pooling our real estate team’s proficiency in regulatory matters and experience in real estate transactions so we can offer sound advice in both areas from a single source.

Real estate private equity

Real estate is one of the most attractive forms of investment. Trends in the capital market favour growth in returns, and the recent increase in the volume of transactions clearly shows the attractiveness of the German real estate investment market as a safe haven in an environment marked by global uncertainty.

We advise our clients in the area of real estate private equity against the background of increasingly complex challenges along the entire value chain for real estate investments, from the primary choice of an investment and tax optimization, through financing and acquisition of real property, to an exit strategy. We offer holistic advice on all legal aspects involved in real estate investments, integrated cooperation with outstanding specialists from various subject areas, extensive experience in the sector and customized teams of any required size.

Real estate tax law

We advise national and international clients, such as closed-end or open-end real estate funds, REITs and other investors, in all areas of real estate tax law, a field in which we have extensive expertise. Our advisory services focus on complex issues of national and international structuring, ranging from the establishment of tax-efficient acquisition and financing structures, through the reduction of tax burdens during the holding period of the investment, to the development of innovative exit strategies to ensure a tax-efficient repatriation of profits.

Tenancy law/asset management

A good asset management strategy should always be oriented to increasing the value of real property. With our experience in long-term real estate management, we are able to support our clients in every conceivable area to ensure that they achieve this objective. The range of our advisory services includes finding new lessees for vacant properties and negotiating and entering into lease addenda, implementing rent increases and handling disputes related to repairs, renovations and structural changes. We also advise many retailers and companies as they enter into corresponding leases.

Legal disputes

Our primary aim is to avoid legal disputes. That is why we attach great importance to providing legal advice as early as possible during a project, allowing us to develop strategies to avoid legal disputes, prepare legally 'clean' contracts and resolve any potential trouble spots from the outset.

If legal disputes cannot be avoided, we represent our clients in all legal matters at every level. Negotiating settlements (whether or not in court) with buyers, sellers, project developers, lessees and lessors is as much a part of our work as litigation before the regular courts and arbitration panels.

Sustainable real estate management

The concept of sustainability is increasingly important for the real estate industry. This trend has led to a considerable need for legal advisory services, with investors, financiers, property managers and even users increasingly seeking lawyers with proficiency in the area of green buildings. We are a market leader in this sector, offering comprehensive advice on green project developments, building contracts, leases, financing and insurance, as well as building certifications and awards for property management. You can find our latest publications, such as 'Musterregelungen eines Grünen Property Management-Vertrags' ('Model provisions for a green property management agreement') and our survey 'Towards a greener future' here.

Focus areas

  • Purchase and sale of property and portfolios, where applicable with preparatory due diligence and establishment of data rooms
  • National and international real estate transactions
  • All aspects of commercial tenancy law, including corresponding litigation
  • Ongoing advice on all day-to-day issues of real estate management, site development, leasing concepts, etc for large managed properties or real estate managers
  • Advice for open-end and closed-end real estate funds
  • Advice on conventional project development and use and realization concepts
  • Speciality properties (industrial parks, recreational facilities, hotels, etc)
  • Structuring of real estate assets
  • Advice on all issues related to laws on building in conjunction with expert advisers
  • Real estate leasing, sale and leaseback, domestic and foreign real estate financing and project financing
  • Advice on corporate, tax and public law issues related to real estate

Experience

  • Advising Blackstone, an international asset management company, on the acquisition of a logistics portfolio. The portfolio, which is located in France and Germany, includes a total of 17 logistics platforms totalling 750,000 square metres in size, and is to become part of Blackstone’s logistics unit Logicor
  • Advising AFIAA, an investment foundation of 25 Swiss pension funds with an emphasis on international commercial property, on the acquisition of the 'Romeo & Julia' office towers in Frankfurt for some EUR 100 million. The seller is IFM Immobilien AG, a listed real estate investor that specializes in revitalizing outstanding properties in first-class locations
  • Advising SEB AG, Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale, Deutsche Hypothekenbank (Actien-Gesellschaft), ING Bank N.V. and Corealcredit Bank AG as lenders on refinancing totalling some EUR 275 million for a portfolio of 39 retail properties in Germany for Rockspring
  • Advising the Supervisory Board of LEG Immobilien AG on its IPO. The LEG Group, with some 91,000 residential units, is one of the largest residential real estate companies in Germany
  • Advised Hahn Group and a German private real estate company as its partner during the purchase of a portfolio of retail properties valued at EUR 140 million. The package includes shopping centres or speciality shopping centres, big-box stores and consumer or home improvement centres. Hahn Group is a leading fund and asset manager for retail properties in Germany
  • Advising SEB AG on financing for the “Das Es!” shopping centre in Esslingen town centre. The London real estate company Rockspring acquired the property on behalf of a Korean pension fund for some EUR 70 million
  • Advised Caesar Fund, an open-end Italian real estate fund managed by AXA REIM, on the purchase of office buildings in Frankfurt am Main, Munich and Stuttgart valued at EUR 175 million

Recognition

  • JUVE Firm of the Year for Real Estate and Building Law 2012